Finding the Right Business Partner

Thursday 20 March, 2014

Finding the Right Business Partner

Choosing a business partner needs as much consideration as choosing a future husband or wife – you’re both in it for the long haul. In fact, a business partnership is a lot like marriage, as it requires a high level of trust, honesty and the ability to share ambitions and dreams.

Some common reasons to find a business partner include:

  • You lack knowledge in certain areas or don’t have the specific skills needed for the successful growth of your business
  • You’d like to have someone to share the stresses of the businesses with and to help generate business ideas
  • You’d like someone to share the financial risks of the business with

How did you choose your business partner?
Would you consider a close friend as a business partner?
Have you ever had a business partner who has made your business worse off?

If you have decided that you can’t do without a business partner and that they would be a necessity to the future success of your business, then you need to begin thinking about who you should approach.

There are some important steps to take in this process:

  1. Think about what type of business-person you are.
    What are your dreams for the business?
    What are your work values?
    What’s your personality like?
    Do you lack any skills or areas of knowledge?
    There’s no point in finding a partner who has the same strengths and weaknesses as you but you need to be sure that the individual shares the same work values as you.
  2. Get to know your business partner inside and out.
    Meet them outside of the office to see what they’re like in a social context. Question them about their previous employment and experiences.
    Do they have references?
    Give them a call and make sure that what they’re saying matches what previous employers describe.
  3. Create a partnership agreement.
    With the help of a lawyer, create an agreement which should include a clear description of what each partner is responsible for (i.e. who is in charge of HR, creating new business relationships, marketing).
    How are profits and losses distributed?
    What are the provisions for continuing the business in the event of a partner’s death or change in circumstance?
    All of these complex details need to be discussed with a lawyer in clear, plain English.
  4. Define goals together.
    Where do you both see the business in one, two, three and five years time?
    How are you both going to get there?

The most important thing is to remember not to rush with your decision. 

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