Finding a great business partner is a really tough task. Many people can seem to be a great fit, but once you get down to the nuts and bolts of daily work, you just don’t mesh with each other. Or, worse, you may find out someone has a criminal or other unsavory background after you’ve agreed to start a venture together.
There are several things you can do to make your search for a business partner easier. Friends may be a good resource. However, be careful about mixing business with friendship – doing so can easily ruin both. It may be better to have a neutral partner who is only a business associate.
Fortunately, there are many who have been down the road of choosing business partners, and learning from their successes and mistakes can make a big difference. Most importantly, you can avoid common pitfalls. Here are four tips to finding the right business partner for your venture.
1. Take your time and carefully vet candidates. Being in a hurry is a business recipe for disaster. Take the time to get to know the folks you are interested in working with. Find out their background. Do a criminal check. Get your friends’ feel about them – friends can often see what you can’t. Having the wrong business partner can cost you money and sink your venture – this is no time to rush.
2. Find someone just as committed to the business as you are. It’s important to have a work ethic match. If you get into a situation where you are doing all the work, you will resent your partner and it will cause a lot of conflict. It’s easy to be fooled by passionate speeches in this area – be sure they follow through with action. It may be a good idea to try a short-term project together and see if you are a good work match. This will allow you to size up the possible benefits of working together on a longer-term business venture.
3. Find someone you can trust to make decisions on your behalf. A business partner will be doing more than working side-by-side with you. This associate will also have the power to make important decisions and commit money on behalf of the business. Be sure to find someone you can trust. You want someone who is working for both of you, not just themselves. A partnership isn’t much help if you are constantly double-checking the other person’s actions. You can also get into a lot of financial and business trouble if your partner isn’t trustworthy and ends up breaking laws or stealing money.
4. Find someone who is willing to disagree with you. You won’t always have the right answers. When going into business with a partner, it’s important to find someone who is willing to challenge your approach when needed. This doesn’t mean you fight constantly, it means that they aren’t just a yes-man to your business ideas. Having a different perspective and someone who isn’t afraid to say you’re wrong is invaluable. You may find a whole different business approach than you initially planned, and great success could come from it.
Finding someone to go into business with can be one of the best things you do for your venture. The energy, encouragement, and strength you get from working with another person can make all the difference in your success. When you carefully vet your options and find someone who is trustworthy, a hard worker, and willing to give a different perspective, your chances of success will soar.
This guest post was written by Kate Lee, Corporate Trainer at My Alarm Center, a home security service provider. My Alarm Center is a proud supporter and practitioner of female corporate leadership.