Getting a successful business off the ground is incredibly challenging – especially if you’re doing all the heavy lifting.
Hiring employees can help ease some of the burden, but you may be able to cover more ground in less time if you bring on a full-fledged partner to share some of the core responsibilities – things like financing, networking, or managing day-to-day activities.
However, not all partners are created equally. In fact, the wrong fit can hinder your operations and cost you valuable time and money. This is why you should invest time into carefully considering whom you bring on board.
Below are five essential tips for how to choose a business partner who can help grow your operations.
One of the most important characteristics of a good business partner is how closely your values align. That’s because working together will only make your business stronger and more resilient if you’re both pushing in the same direction.
This doesn’t mean you need to have identical personalities or backgrounds. If anything, diversity of experiences is usually a plus.
What is important is that you share the same underlying values – including how best to steer your business into the future.
Bringing on a partner offers key benefits – but it also introduces new risks as you expose the inner workings of your business.
To make that risk worthwhile, it pays to bring in someone with skills that complement or augment your skills. If you’re a “big-picture” thinker, for example, look for someone who revels in the finer details. The same goes for IT, accounting, marketing, or any other area where you might have gaps.
It’s also helpful to clearly outline how each partner will contribute – including responsibilities, time commitment, and financing. These details will eventually come out anyway, and it’s best not to be caught off guard.
Similar to the point above, your partner should be someone who can help grow your network and add greater legitimacy to your operations.
Lettered credentials, such as MBAs and PhDs, are always nice. Even industry associations and other memberships can prove beneficial – especially if you both belong to different circles. Joining forces can potentially double your network of contacts.
Ideally, you’d prefer to find a partner who can contribute the same amount of money as you (if not more). Financing becomes so much easier when you have someone with whom to split the bills.
Finding this type of arrangement may not always be possible, and you may need to explore other ways in which your partner can contribute, such as:
As long as you’re both comfortable with the split, go for it. Just make sure your potential partner is financially stable. This is particularly important for new ventures. Since it may be some time before you start to see a profit, you want to help ensure that your partner can weather the storm and stay focused during those lean times.
Financial stability is important, but so is personal stability. You and your partner will spend a lot of time together.
If he or she has a personal challenge that might prevent him or her from fulfilling their duties, try to discover this before making your business relationship official.
Spend some time with each candidate before making your decision. The more time you take, the fewer surprises there should be down the road.
Waiting can be frustrating – particularly if you have a hot new business idea that you want to develop. Nonetheless, picking the wrong partner can often introduce even bigger headaches and missed opportunities.
While some partners still work in the same location – sharing common resources such as rent, utilities, and equipment – proximity is no longer a requirement, thanks to the internet.
As you begin searching for potential partners, consider expanding your geographic parameters to include awider pool of talent. Doing so helps increase your chances of finding someone who has all the target characteristics of a good business partner.