Case Study – Small business collaboration

The assignment

I was approached by a local small business owner.  The owner wanted to enter into a business  partnership with two other businesses.

The intent was for the businesses to work together to create and begin retail operations of a new store, sharing workspace and a retail storefront, and other resources, as appropriate.

The businesses were of similar vision and values.

Work done

I held an initial meeting with the client, to talk about their intention and aspirations.

The client then convened meetings, with the other business owners, to build consensus on shared objectives and needs, for the joint venture.  I facilitated and participated in these conversations, as appropriate.

Based on the conversations and meeting notes, I drew up a Collaboration Agreement.

The agreement reflected a “meeting of the hearts”, a partnership built on trust, while minimizing protection-oriented legalistic ways.

The agreement outlined intent and vision, roles, promises, time and value, measurements of satisfaction, concerns, risks and fears, a process for renegotiation/dissolution of the agreement, consequences if agreement terms weren’t followed, how conflicts were to be resolved, and a formal sign-off mechanism..

Revisions to the agreement were made.  The agreement became a living document, to be updated by the parties, as their partnership evolves.

The agreement served as a roadmap for a successful collaboration, implemented on schedule.