How to Know if Someone Will Make a Good Business Partner
A successful business partnership is based on a lot more than shared excitement over a great idea. Think of it like choosing the perfect roommate… but possibly for a much longer time commitment and with a lot more at stake! First, find out whether the person has the Five Key Traits of a Successful Entrepreneur. Then ask yourself these questions to determine if that person you’ve been brainstorming with over coffee would actually make a good business partner.
Do You NEED a Partner?
Or can you hire the person you are considering as a consultant? Look at what skill set you lack and your potential workload. Then determine if dividing and conquering make sense. Don’t give away part of your business unless you know the person will be a good business partner.
Is Friendship Clouding Your Judgment?
It’s not enough to be friends; your goals, values, and passions need to align. Take a look at their personal life. Is it stable? Personal problems are difficult and can complicate professional lives. If in doubt, don’t.
Are You Compatible?
Just because someone has the skills and experience you need, doesn’t mean the two of you can work well together. Do a dry run, a test project, to see if you have compatible personalities and leadership styles. Finding a business partner with whom you are compatible will make it possible to overcome challenges that crop up. By the same token, your different skills and personality traits should complement each other.
Is This Person Reliable and Honest?
Even the smartest entrepreneurs may overlook this basic question in their excitement to get started. During your dry run, make sure your potential partner can deliver on time, follows up when they say they will, gets to meetings on time, etc. Honesty plus accountability equals integrity. Will this person own up to their mistakes, without blaming others? Only with honest people leading the way will your company stay transparent and trustworthy.
Do You Share a Passion and Vision?
If one of you wants to grow slow and the other wants to scale fast, you will encounter issues. Make sure you are on the same page with your plans for the company. Plus, as the business grows, it may look different. Consider how you envision it not just right now but in one year or five.
Do This Person Challenge You?
A good business partner challenges you. Together you will spark different approaches, creative ways of thinking, and a stronger business. Different points of view help you make thoughtful, well-rounded decisions. Without someone to challenge you, you might never realize that your way isn’t always the best way.
Do you agree about responsibilities and money?
You need to decide, going in, what each person’s responsibilities will be, and stick with them. If one of you keeps trying to take over, or doesn’t pull their weight, feelings of resentment will arise. Likewise, you need to agree about how you will use your funding, and how profits will be distributed.
Can you agree on a plan for if/when you want to separate?
If you can agree ahead of time on a formula for determining the value of the company should one partner decide to leave, chances are you will both feel the outcome is fair if/when the time comes to go separate ways.
It can be hard to share control of your Great Idea. But it’s impossible to do everything yourself; you need people who are expert at things you are not. Choose your partners wisely.