I have very few direct partnerships.
Most of the work I do allows me to stay in the background, communicating with clients only as needed. At Spinutech, we have account managers who act as buffers between clients and strategists. With Evergrow Marketing, Jake and I have it structured so that he does the same thing.
This works well because I am bad at modern American business. It’s too aggressive — too fast-paced and callous. My business values align more with the Japanese. Here’s what I mean.
I believe business growth and business relationships must grow in tandem — that profit and trust are tied to each other.
This is true of my partnership with Jake. Before deciding to work together we had to build a minimum level of friendship. As our digital marketing agency has grown, we’ve had to make bigger financial decisions. Sometimes we disagree. If we weren’t working on our relationship too, then some of the disputes might become insurmountable. Because we’re also working on our relationship, our trust in each other grows with our profits, so we’re able to work through any issues.
Some people might prefer to keep business impersonal. Those people can work with other people who prefer to keep business impersonal, because to me, business is personal.
I’m not saying we need to become best friends, but I do expect to establish a relationship prior to conducting business together and work on it as our partnership grows.
In America, we follow contracts to the word. Japanese use contracts with the understanding that business changes over time and so will each party’s responsibilities. It works when you conduct business based on the trust in your relationship; it doesn’t if you don’t trust each other.
When you enter into agreements without mutual trust, you end up spending a lot of time going over trivial details to protect yourself — all before making any money. I’d rather start making money with a decent outline, then work through the details as they present themselves.
Significant accomplishments take a proportionally significant amount of time. A quarter isn’t long enough to accomplish much of anything. Even a year is often just a setup to test the long-term viability and success of something.
“Long-term” shouldn’t be measured in months.
Hustle-porn on social media has us addicted to the idea of immediate success, and while it’s certainly possible (especially on the internet), I don’t like to work with those people. They’re short-sighted, volatile, and lack the discipline and tenacity for sustainable growth.
If I’m going to put the extra effort into creating a custom agreement, I want to know it’s going to last — that whoever I’m partnering with is also in it for the long-term. When we’re on the same timeline, it increases confidence in our mutual success.