Monday, November 21, 2011

Cross-Border Joint Ventures - A Word From Benjamin Franklin, Circa 1791

Yes, that Benjamin Franklin, United States founding figure and printer, writer, inventor, diplomat and scientist - the guy on the US $100 dollar note. While his observations were on partnership, they apply equally well to joint ventures, which after all are a form of partnership. Clients often observe, correctly, that good relationships are built on trust, but I counter that without something more to document and support the intention of the parties, those relationships are at great risk of dissolution, and especially so given the complexities and cultural disconnects in a cross-border venture. On to Mr. Franklin, from his Autobiography:

"Partnerships often finish in quarrels; but I was happy in this, that mine were all carried on and ended amicably, owing, I think, a good deal to the precaution of having very explicitly settled, in our articles, every thing to be done by or expected from each partner, so that there was nothing to dispute, which precaution I would therefore recommend to all who enter into partnerships; for, whatever esteem partners may have for, and confidence in each other at the time of the contract, little jealousies and disgusts may arise, with ideas of inequality in the care and burden of the business, etc., which are attended often with breach of friendship and of the connection, perhaps with lawsuits and other disagreeable consequences."