Question: What was your first successful JV, and what were the steps you took to
make it successful?
Hello. This is Valerie Vauthey speaking. I am the CEO & Founder of the fastest
growing coaching company in North America and Europe: MyPrivateCoach.com
I would like to share with you a few of my experiences regarding business and
more specifically with Joint Ventures.
I have started, grown, and sold FOUR Joint Ventures so far and I just started a
Out of the first four JVs, 3 were a great success and 1 was a failure (though I
did not lose a dime, let's say I just did not make money).
Looking back at what made the JV successful, I think I can now reasonably well
understand why one went astray and did not generate the forecasted revenues.
The first JV I ever started was a high-tech company which applied the artificial
intelligence concepts to financial markets.
Because I was not a techie person, the critical part of this JV was to find a
50/50 partner who would be the techie side of the business. I would be the
sales and CEO side of the business.
This is the #1 CFOS (Critical Factor of Success): Finding the right partner. The
right partner is the one who brings what you do not have and are not able to
acquire easily. This requires a high-level of self esteem as one has to accept
his or her limits.
The right partner is also somebody you know well. Not a person met at a fair or
on an online network and with whom you only exchanged a few emails. It is easy
to get excited when we meet somebody online and find that we share a lot of
elements but always do your homework and learn as much as possible about the
other person before jumping in the bath as we say in French.
If you do not find the right partner, then your JV is dead before even having
What's the worst that can happen when you choose the wrong partner? Well, you
can be mislead. And this is easy to do! Since this partner knows things you
You can also be lied to when a partner who is supposed to bring a sales pipeline
or access to hundreds of thousands of people, reveals him/herself as a nice
speaker with nothing in the basket (another French expression ;o)
One of the mistakes I have made and from which I have learned is that I used to
believe my partners and follow them blindly. One time, I was approached by a
potential partner who seemed extremely well connected and whose role would have
been to spread the word while I would be the captain on board, the visionary.
We did have a vision...but the millions of contacts? never materialized!
That's ok. We will all make a mistake here and there. As long as we learn from
them it is a lesson of life and we will remember it.
- choose a partner you know
- preferably choose a partner who has experience
- your partner should have an experience and a skill set you do not have
- your partner should have access to a network of people you do not know
- choose a partner who can prove what he/she says when it comes to sales pipeline and large distribution lists
#1 CFOS Good Example: To start my latest JV, I chose Kimberly Wells, one of our
great coaches on board at MyPrivateCoach.
I have the vision. She has the skill set. We are totally complementary.
The vision was to start an online boot camp company attractively priced at 99
cents a day. I had known Kimberly for quite a while. We had had time to
exchange and discover each other!
After 6 months of brainstorming and work, we launched www.30dayBootCamp.com and
we started selling our first bootcamps within days.
#1 CFOS Bad example: Two years ago, I started a website with a person I barely
knew but who made me believe he had access to literally millions
of addresses. Needless to say, these addresses did not exist. Now that I know
how hard it is to build a meaningful subscribers list, I know why!
I wasted my time on this but no money. Maybe my female intuition was talking to
me while I slept!
It still qualifies as a failure to me.
The #2 CFOS in a JV is timing and vision. People who start a JV tend to be in a
hurry. They want to succeed yesterday as opposed to tomorrow. A JV is not a
"regular" company where you have a CEO who drives the team. In a JV, as
commonly understood today, both partners have technically the same power.
Because both parners can pull the company at the same time, it is important that
your sense of timing be the same. Do you want to make 1 million within the next
6 months? Does your partner want to make 10 millions within 12 months? Do you
want this to be a side business? Does he/she want this to be HUGE company?
As you can see, if you do not have the same perception of things (vision and
timing) you are doomed to failure.
- choose a partner who has the same grand vision about what the business should
become (a side-business or the next Microsoft)
- choose a partner who thinks like you when it comes to timing: when do you want
success to become true?
#2 CFOS Good Example:
With Kimberly Wells on www.30dayBootCamp.com, we have the same vision. We want to
become the reference when it comes to bootcamps and
online self help. We also have the same timeframe as a reference: we are giving
ourselves 12 months to meet full success!
#2 CFOS Bad Example:
With my not-so-successful JV, we had a major difference of perception when it
came to the vision and of course to the timing.
I had another company to take care of, I did not have the same sense of urgency
as this person had. These two major (and should I say "critical")
differences collided and we stopped working together.
This leads us to another point: how much time do you have?
One important point when you start any company for that matter, is the TIME
issue. This will be our #3 CFOS. One common cause of JV or busines failure
in general is the lack of time or a poor time organization.
If you are planning to start a JV on the side while taking care of your family,
a time-consuming job and a intensive social life, chances are you
will not succeed. Does this sound tough? tough love maybe! But it is critical
that you allocate all your energy and time to your new business venture.
A new endeavor requires your full attention. What about finding a balance
between your personal life and your business? I personally believe that
there is no balance to be found in the first few months you start a business.
YOu need an understanding spouse and family environment and go for it.
Work hard and do not listen to those who sell seminars and expensive teleclasses
trying to make you believe you can become rich and famous without
working hard. A key reason for failure is giving your time away to other people
or projects. Be focused! ONLY ONE NEW BUSINESS AT A TIME.
Don't you worry. As soon as your business takes off the ground thanks to your
hard work, you will be able to re-establish a nice personal/professional
- you need to focus on ONE project at a time to be successful
- you need to have ample time to start and grow your business
- do not look for life balance when you start a business. It is very hard tomaintain and will be an energy drainer
- do not spend your time and money on online programs which do not offer one-on-one support
#3 CFOS Good Example: You start a business like my last JV
(www.30dayBootCamp.com) while you are conducting another business. You allocate
time slots for this venture. YOu write them down as busy time and never schedule
anything at that time. For 30dayBootCamp, I allocated more time at
the beginning than now of course. But I always sticked to my resolution when it
came to time management. Now, this JV has taken off so I have
reduced my time allotment for this project but I still stick to an organized
#3 CFOS Bad Example: My not-so-successful JV was a victim of this CFOS. I simply
did not allocate enough time and resources in general to this project.
somewhere deep deep inside me I did not believe in it.
So, suppose you have found the right partner, you share the same vision, the
same timeline and you can allocate the same amount of resources...
What's still missing
to make this JV a big success? You still need: a great product, a target market
and a great networking ability (or enough cash in the bank to hire
a great publicist!).
Would that be enough? Well not even. YOu see, having the best partner on earth,
the best product and a market waiting for you is not even enough..
According to venture capitalists, on a scale from 1 to 10, an idea only
represents 1! They like to say that what matters most is "Business Planning".
Indeed, only when you have understood the inner details of your vision will you
be able to execute and become successful.
So our #4 CFOS is Business Planning. You cannot improvise when it comes to
business planning. If you don't know how to write a meaningful business plan,
then hire a
specialist. I have been teaching how to write business plans for the past few
years and I can say that only professional business plans get funded.
Not looking for funds? Not a problem! YOu still need to thoroughly understand
what your product will be, your market, your competitors, your execution plan,
your marketing challenges, etc.....
- you need a great product
- you need a target market (unless you are wealthy enough to create your own market)
- you need a business plan
#4 CFOS Good Example: for my first high-tech startup, the one which developed a
software based on artifial intelligence concepts, I wrote a complete
50 page business plan. Only then did we uncover tricky aspects of our business
model. This helped us raise the money we needed and find the
clients we wanted!
#4 CFOS Bad Example: I cannot talk for myself because I always do what I preach
but I will talk about startup failures. In the late 90's, VCs were easily
showering with dollars any person with a great idea. Business Plan? not needed.
A one-pager maybe but that was pretty much about it.
Hence staggering sums put down the drain with countless startups. An idea is not
enough, you need a plan!
There are other factors of success when you start and grow a JV. But if you do
your homework right, write a business plan (and insist on
the parts you dislike
most, this is where you are likely to find business traps), look for and find a
great partner and are ready to work hard towards achieving your
goal, then you will have put all the chances for success on your side and you
will be on your way to an amazing and rewarding journey!
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© Valerie Vauthey.
Business Coaching at My Private Coach
Valerie Vauthey is the CEO & Founder of My Private Coach.
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About the Author
Valerie Vauthey is the founder of http://www.MyPrivateCoach.com and the president of the Silicon Valley Coachville Chapter. She brings long years of successful experience in the areas of Personal Coaching, Weight Loss, Financial Coaching, Time Management, Motivational Techniques and Behavioral Science.
She is a permanent guest on the acclaimed Good Life Show hosted by Jesse Dylan.