19 Sep Find The Perfect (Business) Partner
I’d like to open my blog up with a little bit of relationship advice. Life and business have many parallels, and finding the right partner may be one of them. Leading a business together with somebody, that requires a great deal of trust and shared experience. Alright, so maybe there are some differences, but whenever you read about finding a business partner there will most likely be a marriage reference present, and this article will be no exception because I strongly believe that your business partner is, in fact, your second life partner. Today I’d like to have a look at how to choose this person, to make sure that the “business marriage” is peaceful, solid and long-lasting.
First, they say opposites attract. In the business world, that isn’t always true — we tend to associate with people who are actually very similar to ourselves. And it’s tempting to partner with those people But the reality is, finding someone who is your opposite — who can fill the gaps — is actually the best approach in business. If you’re great with sales and always want to be out with the customers, then find someone who’s great at operations and can make sure the business actually delivers what you sell. If you’re a numbers person, always keeping the books balanced and in close contact with your vendors and suppliers, then maybe find someone a little more on the creative side to drive marketing. We all have weaknesses. Find a partner who compliments yours.
But speaking of differences, there’s one thing that you should definitely have in common: the level of experience and the vision for your business. Once you found someone who agrees with your vision and objective plan, chances are that he or she is The One. But keep in mind, just like in a romantic relationship, a business relationship can come upon some rough patches, and you’re most likely not always going to agree about everything that comes up. Therefore, another important thing to look for in a partner is openness and willingness to communicate. You don’t want a stubborn fighter in your company any more than you want that at home. Sure, you want someone with committed ideas, who will fight for what’s right for both of you (i.e., for the company), but communication is key. Mutual honesty, respect and excellent interpersonal skills also make a great foundation for a solid partnership. It’s definitely not safe to start a business when these prerequisites are missing, and in my opinion, it’s not even possible.
Which brings me to the next point worth mentioning. Make sure that your soon-to-be business partner’s hands are not tied by ten other (often also more important) projects, or some personal issues that may have negative effects on their ability to give one hundred percent. The energy needs to come from both sides, and if they need to use it elsewhere, it’s probably not the best idea to start a business with them.
Another thing to look at is their financial stability. Just like marriage, business partnership is not just about big plans and ideas and wishful thinking (no matter how lovely would it be if it was). It’s also pressure, money, and more pressure and more money. You want to know for sure if they’ve got a fall back plan for the potential risks, and if they’re ready to contribute financially (if that was a part of the plan, that is). Discuss everything upfront, so that you avoid potential clashes and surprises later.
My last, and maybe most important business relationship advice is, always write everything down, read everything through before signing, and make sure that you’re both ready to get by on your own in case things go bad and a “breakup” is necessary. Because those things happen, and when they happen in business, it’s good to be ready.