There is strength in numbers. Having a partner to lean on is extremely important for business owners and startup founders. With the right person on board, you can instantly boost the potential of your business and open the door to new opportunities. However, the inverse of that equation is also true. The wrong business partner can wreck havoc on your company and threaten to destroy it from within.
Adding a business partner is not something you do lightly. It’s not like going to the YMCA to play pickup basketball and teaming up with the first person who appears to have some skill. There is a lot of research, planning, and due diligence to be done.
As you look for the best option for your company, consider the five factors listed below:
Without trust, a business partner is nothing. Everything else is meaningless if you can’t trust your partner. The difficulty comes from determining someone’s level of trustworthiness when there is no prior relationship.
Conversation and track record are frequently used to assess trustworthiness. You should have several conversations with any potential partner, including sitting down and discussing your life, beliefs, vision, background, situational factors, and so on. You should also speak with people who know them both personally and professionally. Take note of how people talk about your potential partner. Do they appear to be feeling positively, negatively, or neutrally? Their track record speaks for itself. Examine their resume and the companies they’ve previously worked for. Were these companies and/or departments better off as a result of their departure? Were there any dubious decisions that served as red flags? Don’t be afraid to go digging.
You will spend a significant amount of time with your business partner. You don’t have to be best friends, but you should get along. There must be a healthy dynamic that allows you both to collaborate for the benefit of the company. Evaluating potential compatibility is frequently a matter of intuition.
While compatibility is important, you don’t want to bring on a business partner with the same skill set as you. This will have little impact on your company. Ideally, you should find someone with complementary skills. For example, if you excel at innovation and product development, you might prefer a founder with sales and marketing experience.
Ideally, you and your business partner will oversee different aspects of the company. This allows you to each specialize in a specific area while avoiding micromanaging the other.
Networking is an important part of starting and growing a business. In the early stages, you rely heavily on your network to form alliances and spread the word about your new venture. Even as you advance, your network will open doors to new opportunities.
While you already have a large network, you want a partner who has a large network as well. This provides you/the company with immediate access to hundreds or thousands of other connections. You’ll notice an immediate increase in potential between your network and theirs.
Creativity and problem-solving skills
As you are aware, entrepreneurship is all about problem solving. Small problems, large problems, emergencies, and chronic issues will all confront your company. You require a business partner who is an expert at problem solving. And creativity is at the heart of problem-solving.
It is impossible to teach creativity. You can put someone in an environment that brings out their best creative qualities, but you can’t teach someone how to be creative. Pick a partner’s brain about various ideas, concepts, and opportunities to see how they approach problems. This will give you a good idea of how inventive they are.
Adding a business partner is not something to be taken lightly. If you think about it in terms of relationships, you’re not just asking someone out on a date; you’re making a marriage proposal. If things go wrong, ending this business relationship will be stressful, expensive, and costly. But if everything goes well, your potential together is limitless. Do your research and don’t make a hasty decision.