Generally, entrepreneurs have a tendency of wanting to do things solo. However, wearing multiple hats like that can be extremely burdensome. Having a business partner helps divide the effort & also brings in a different set of perspective in brainstorming sessions plus you get to be accountable to someone. You’ll notice that most companies are started by duos, bearing testimony to how people acknowledge the importance of partnerships. However, there is a high rate of companies crumbling due to fall-outs between partners. Thus, it’s crucially important to make critical considerations when choosing a business partner. This is because having a business partner can either be beneficial or detrimental.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND A BUSINESS PARTNER?
I submit to you that you can get a business partner through an infinite number of outlets. Sometimes the most unlikely places or circumstances. I recommend that you give priority to consider people you already know because building rapport with a new person can be quite tasking. The endeavour to trust someone takes time & effort, two variables you might not be readily having due to the urgency of setting up a business. I will, however, lay out 3 domains where you can set your sight on in your search for a business partner:
You can find a business partner from attending & mingling with people at seminars, workshops, events, meetings and so on. The plus here is that you get to come across people with skills & expertise that you probably might be need in of for your business initiative.
Family, Friends & Relatives
This is a good place to pick from though most people don’t recommend having a business partner from this domain. This is premised on the fact that this will involve you partnering with someone whom you have a pre-existing emotional attachment to. This can present a lot of prejudice, bias or clouded judgements due to the emotional implications presented by your pre-existing relationship. However, these hurdles can be circumvented if honest communication is upheld.
Former Or Current Co-Workers
You can consider choosing a business partner from co-workers, which is quite befitting considering you have worked with or are still working with them. You most likely already know their strengths or weaknesses with respect to their work ethic.
THINGS TO CONSIDER SO AS TO FIND THE RIGHT BUSINESS PARTNER
Choose Someone Who Shall Complement You
This must be someone who complements you with regards to your personality & behavioural traits. It should be someone who when juxtaposed with a coherent balance is struck. Similar or related passions & interests are central to achieving this complement. You must have shared values & principles; this will promote congruency & unity in decision-making.
Choose Someone You Trust
The success of any partnership is anchored on there being trust between the involved parties; trust is indispensably important. That’s why, as I alluded to earlier, choosing a business partner from co-workers (past or present), family, friends or relative can be most preferable in this regard. If you do, however, choose to partner with someone you barely know it’s essential that you evaluate them. Do thorough due diligence on them (even if it’s someone you suppose you know well). Can I trust this person with my bank account? Your response to that question sheds light on whether or not you trust the person. When considering someone for a partner, don’t ignore gut feelings or any red flags; ignore them & they might catch up with you later.
Choose Someone Who Approaches Conflict Management Proactively
It is not wise to choose someone who majors on competing with you & seeks to dominate you. Someone who resorts to silent treatment or avoidance tendencies when conflicts emerge (of which they will) ruins any prospects of a fruitful partnership. Consider a partner whom you know opts for accommodation, compromise or collaboration when conflicts occur. Conflicts are inevitable so engage with someone who is a big proponent of honest & open communication.
Consider Someone From A Different Field & Skill Set From Yours (But Relevant To The Business)
Varied strengths in a business boost & optimizes business management. If you & your partner have strengths in the same area that will create an imbalance that deprives other areas. In entrepreneurship there are 3 key roles that have to be serviced by the business players i.e. the entrepreneur (the visionary), the manager (administration) & the technician (the craftsperson). Two or more people can partner in performing these roles in a business. This means that when choosing a business partner its expedient to pick someone who will give rise to a scenario where you have varied strengths. This is necessitated by the varied nature of the 3 key roles I pointed out.
Consider Someone With Whom You Know The Working Relationship Can Be Clearly & Easily Defined
For a partnership to work, boundaries & responsibilities should be easy to define whilst maintaining a healthy balance. If you choose someone with whom you have a romantic relationship, for instance, defining these aspects can be quite complicated. Thus it’s important you choose someone who makes these aspects easily definable.
Choose Someone Who Is Willing To Enter Into Documented Contractual Agreements
The success & smooth flow of a partnership is made possible by having a point of reference that details the nature & all aspects of the partnership. It’s important to involve a lawyer in drawing up such agreements. Here is the trick of this aspect: when considering who to make your partner, whether or not someone is comfortable being bound by a documented contractual agreement will speak volumes about the conduct & mindset of that individual. If someone is prepared to enter into & be bound by a documented agreement it implies they are most likely honourable enough to uphold integrity & play their role as expected. Anyone who is uncomfortable is most likely unreliable to deal with.
Those are the important aspects to consider when searching for and choosing a business partner.