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6 Pitfalls of Collaboration & Ways to Avoid Them

Every entrepreneur wants to grow his or her brand, and collaborating with other business owners is essential, especially for a small business thirsty for growth. Collaboration is great but beware of the pitfalls it comes with, all things being equal. Please read all about it.

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Collaboration is the magic you need to make your business grow faster. Collaboration or working with others can provide you with the exposure and experience you need to build your brand. Albeit, there are times when we may choose to work alone. In today’s world, however, cooperating with others has become increasingly important. Collaboration is a necessity today, but it also comes with its pitfalls when you are naive about it.

“The smart way to grow bigger is through smart collaboration”  Unknown.

If you collaborate, you may increase your earning potential and open the door to more opportunities than working independently. Collaboration can be a multiplier under the right circumstances. However, under the wrong circumstances, it could become a nightmare. Some people in business have learned the smart way to collaborate without losing to failure, while some haven’t been so fortunate. 

6 Pitfalls of Collaboration & Ways to Avoid Them

Learn the pits. Chart a path and avoid them.

Do you want to turn an idea into a business or to expand a current business? Collaboration may be necessary to achieve the growth that you want. However, collaboration comes with some deadfalls that you might want to avoid. Read on to prevent the various partnership pitfalls that could stall the onward progress of your business, as I help you see clearly where the pits are so you don’t fall into them. Let’s go:

#1. Blind Pit 

Don’t collaborate blindly. Be sure to be clear-eyed in all your dealing. 

When collaborating with another individual or business, you need to avoid the blind pit by ensuring that you know your intentions for collaboration. If you’re teaming based on familiarity, you may unconsciously drift from your goals and vision. Likewise, someone being your friend or blood relative doesn’t mean that collaboration will pan out fine. You’ve got to be professional about it. In the blind pit, you don’t collaborate because you feel it’s right to do so. 

Not stating clear goals, vision, and values in sync with the individual you want to partner with can cause a massive problem in your relationship and pose a significant challenge in your business. On the other hand, if you and your new partner see that you can jointly serve clients with the shared services you’re offering and get a value for it, then go it confidently. It is more rewarding than when you go into collaboration blindly with no apparent purpose and wonder why it’s not working. Avoid the blind pit!

#2. Personality Pit

We see the twelve major personality archetypes in the diagram! Know the personality type of your business partner. Beware of the wrong personality! 

No matter how enticing a collaboration offer looks, be careful not to fall for the wrong personality. It’s tough dealing with collaborators that are either narcissistic or highly Machiavellian. You mustn’t feel like you are doing someone a favor or under some manipulative spell when asked to collaborate. But, on the other hand, you never want to box yourself in such a corner via your negligence of checking your collaborator’s personality. 

The collaborators’ personalities matter a lot, but some people take that for granted and later struggle to sync with their collaborators, leading to business fatigue. You do not want to collaborate in building a great business empire with someone whose personality can bring you down a rough path. When you are looking for someone to collaborate with, make sure you both have a solid bond to help your vision flutter higher. At this point, your intuition has to effective. 

#3. Greed Pit

Beware of collaborative efforts with those driven by greed! The “money and me” collaborator is a red flag to watch out for in business.

Avoid collaborators who are only after making all the money and don’t care about the value the alliance will offer to customers. People who want to have it all but ignore the primary purpose of teamwork show they can do anything within the realms of possibility to gather all the monies for themselves. They would do whatever, good or bad, even if it means forfeiting that value that the customer is to receive. In their minds, lining their pockets always trumps protecting the common good.  

“The richest of the rich is one who is not a prisoner to greed.”  Imam Ali.

The “money and me” collaborator is a red flag to watch out for in business. The reason is that a die-hard can push you off your business directly or indirectly due to greed. You won’t be able to do much about it but cry over spilled milk if that happens. Making a profit from the business alliance is all good and dandy, but when greed sets in, no one cares about values and goals but what’s in it for them. So, be careful of the greed pit.

#4. Loner Pit

Collaboration is all about working together—it is not a Lone Ranger effort! 

“Yes, we’re collaborating, but I love to work alone,” umm, that is a red flag altogether. Avoid such collaborators and don’t fall into their pit because they break the team spirit that makes a collaboration yield good results. A good collaborator is not a loner—if they wanted to go solo, there is no need to be in a team. Instead, a good collaborator intends to work with you to ensure that the purpose for collaboration works out. 

Yes, individually, you and your collaborator can do what’s needed with your skills and services to ensure the alliance works. But together, there needs to be teamwork that includes brainstorming together on strategies to grow, how to help each other’s business gain more awareness with the target audience, and more. Collaboration is all about helping each other grow and not focusing on your growth alone. 

#5. Runner Pit 

Avoid runners—Quitters never win.

Don’t go into any form of collaboration without doing the paperwork. Avoid the runner or quitter pit where a collaborator always dodges to sign the contract or puts you on hold while the work is going on. After agreeing on the purpose for a value-driven collaboration, the next step is to put it in writing, agree on terms and conditions and do the necessary signings before a lawyer. Any partnership without a legal agreement could sometimes come off as a joke, especially for businesses or brands that want to go big. Avoid the runner pit and step into an earnest collaboration that can do you a lot of good. 

#6. Fame Pit 

Watch out for those primarily driven by fame and also seeking to be in the limelight. It could be a red flag in collaboration!

Avoid the fame pit. Some people want to collaborate to use the opportunity to outshine everyone competitively. Some people want to be in the spotlight all the time. They only want to be the ones in the limelight. Should the spotlight shift to the other collaborator, they become envious and seek ways to circumvent the other collaborator to regain the attention. As you can see, this is a collaboration pitfall you should avoid. 

Sometimes you can perceive it in the way they talk or act when working with a team. Associate with this set of people for some time and see how they handle their business and teamwork. That will give you a sense of their personality. You can now gauge them as stipulated in the personality pit category. For example, no collaboration is worth it where your partner sees you as a threat because of fame, irrespective of what you or they bring to the table. 

Avoid pitfalls at all costs!

Collaboration is great for every business one way or the other, but you must avoid some pitfalls. The first pit to prevent is the blind pit, where you get into collaboration without a sense of purpose. The second pit is the personality pit that shows if you’re compatible with the collaborator’s personality for business growth. Third, avoid the greed pit that involved the “money and me” extremists. Fourth, avoid the loner pit fellow who wants to collaborate and not collaborate at the same time. Fifth, eschew the runner pit, where the collaborator escapes signing contract papers. Finally, the sixth pit to avoid is the fame pit that makes it seem like you’re constantly in a competition with your collaborator. 

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller.

Have you, in your experience, ever fallen into any of the pits in this piece? If yes, which ones and how did you get into such a variation? Which of these pits have you avoided in collaboration? Share in the comment section. 

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Nelly Essien is a guest contributor of Oaekpost, LLC, a U.S.-based online media company. As an entrepreneur, she an apt business strategist, content developer, and copywriter. Her areas of specialty on Oaekpost are the categories, News, Entertainment, and Lifestyle. You can reach her at

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