In Part 3 of this series, Jason breaks down the best ways to evaluate if your current partnership is toxic, what to do about it if it is, and how to decide whether to take on a partner in the first place if you’re in the process of considering this option.

Here’s Jason.

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I have never considered bringing in another partner and am unlikely to ever go into a business partnership again. I learn from my mistakes.

But you’re not me. And your box has it’s own unique needs.

So, how do you determine whether a partnership is right for CrossFit Fill-in-the-blank?

I could get you to ask yourself loads of questions like, is the work equally divided; are you both paid equally, etc. But those questions don’t get to the heart of the matter: your feelings about the partnership and your partner.

The best way to sort this out is to take my 4 step Parasitic Partnership test. Answer each of the following questions with either a YES or a NO.

1. If you’re truthful with yourself, do you feel negatively about your partner?

2. Do you find yourself constantly complaining to your spouse or other people about things your partner does or doesn’t do?

3. Is there anything you feel that you cannot speak to your partner about?

4. Is your business failing to crush it despite working hard on your partnership?

If you answered “yes” to any of these 4 questions, it’s a red flag.

Your ability to communicate openly, trust your partner and rely on him/her are all essential if you are going to be able to work together effectively.

Sounds a bit like marriage doesn’t it? That’s because it is. It’s a marriage of two individuals for business purposes. All the same rules apply.

If you’re happy with your partnership, carry on and keep up the good work. But proceed with a certain amount of caution. Burch says he has NEVER seen a successful box partnership work in the over 2,000 affiliates he has coached. You might be the first, but the odds are against you.

What if you failed the Parasitic Partnership test (by answering yes to any of the 4 questions)?

If you’re realizing your partnership is a problem, first, sit down and look at your options. These will depend on your personal situation and the setup of the partnership.

In my case, I could sense that my partner didn’t really want to be there. So one option I took advantage of was planting the seed in my partner’s mind that would allow him to decide for himself that being in business wasn’t for him.

If your partnership has a different dynamic, you might want to just flat out say, “Dude, this isn’t working…it’s not you, it’s me. One of us has to move on.”

There really isn’t an easy solution. Any relationship breakdown is tough. Take it from someone who has been through a divorce and a business partnership breakdown! They both suck, but you can come out the other side of either feeling like a million bucks. I felt, in both situations, like the handbrake had been released, a weight came off my shoulders and I was ready to fly!

Here’s a big wrinkle: What if your spouse is also your business partner?

Well, if you’re at a point where shit has already broken down, you have no choice but to hash it out with your spouse/partner. Yes, I know it’s going to be hard, but the longer you let it go on, the longer it will screw up both your lives, and the longer it will take to recover from the damage  - both personally and professionally.

Business relationships with spouses are often difficult situations – but they can work. You will need clearly defined roles, responsibilities and boundaries. You will also need time when you are a couple, not business partners – time together where work is off the menu.

What if you don’t have a business right partner now, but are thinking about taking one on?

In short, don’t do it!

Why would you? You just don’t need it. Use the associate business model instead. You’ll still retain overall control of your business and your associate will be empowered; they’ll get rewarded for their hard work without the instability of a partnership increasing everybody’s risk.

If you replace the partnership model with the associate model, you will be rewarded by a duplicate who can take some of the burden of being a business owner off of you.

And the business will also be rewarded – with growth.

It’s win-win all around.

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Whoever is in your life, in whatever form, take a moment to celebrate them this Holiday. None of us can do it alone.

Happy Holidays from The BIZ!

We’ll be back full force January 2nd. Looking forward to crushing it with all of our Tribers and All In Members in 2013…