3 Tips for Finding a Partner for Your Startup
Entrepreneurs are well-known for wearing every hat imaginable. You play the roles of marketer, budgeter, strategic thinker, and more. In the early days of your business, you may have the idea that you can go it alone, but as time passes, you may start to consider working with a business partner. A business partner allows for a more balanced workload. The right partner will also bring new skillsets to the table while giving you access to a new network of business professionals.
Finding someone who feels as compassionate about your business as you do is no easy feat, and choosing the wrong partner can be detrimental. Want to make sure you choose a business colleague wisely? If so, keep reading for 3 tips that will guide you in your decision making.
1. Know Where to Look
The odds of your future business partner finding you are slim to none. To find the right partner, you’ve got to be willing to put in the legwork. When looking for a partner, consider your co-worker pool. Partnering with a past or current co-worker is convenient and less risky. You already know this person’s work ethic, personality, and skills. There’s no need to guess if this person is reliable and honest, or they are up for the task. Having worked with this person already, you know if your personalities mesh. This insider knowledge can you save you from difficult issues down the road.
You may also decide to pair up with a friend or family member. While some experts advise against this, close friends tend to make good business partners. To make this type of partnership work:
- You must both remain on the same page
- Interpersonal communication has to be the top priority
- Both parties have to put in equal time and effort
If you want to look outside of your personal bubble, network online as well as in-person. There are tons of online networking groups where you can connect with professionals. You can also join professional associations and attend entrepreneur conferences to find a potential partner.
2. Ensure a Personality Match
Finding a business partner should be just as intimate as finding a romantic partner. For co-ownership to work, you and your partner have to mesh. Your partner must be hardworking, dedicated, and forward-thinking. These traits will drive the success of your company. You want to know that, especially during those super long days, you can depend on your partner to make tough business decisions.
At the same time, you also want a partner who you can joke and laugh with. While owning a business is as serious as it gets, if the journey isn’t fun, it’s not worth it. You want to ensure that you and your partner can get along during the worst and best times. After a grueling day of contract proposals and spreadsheet budgeting, you need to be able to turn around and laugh with each other. A partnership needs to be more than just keeping the business afloat. You two need to grow a solid friendship built on trust.
3. Know What You Need
In a business partner, you want someone who is like you, but not too much. For instance, you want to find a partner who has the same drive and entrepreneurial spirit. You want someone who is morally and ethically sound, as well as someone who brings credibility to your company.
At the same time, you want to avoid choosing a partner that is just like you. The purpose of a partner is to find someone who can bring new ideas and skills to the table. If you’re a financial guru, choose a partner that excels at marketing or design. If you have a small business network, find someone who has a strong network as well as industry connections. A business partner should provide what you lack.
To know what you need in a partner, you’ll need to take a look at yourself. Answer these questions:
- What skills am I really good at?
- What skills do I lack?
- What do I need help with within the business?
These questions can help determine what you need to look for in a partner. Before choosing someone, feel free to ask the questions above. You want reassurance that the partner you choose can make up for your pitfalls.
You want a partner who can help decide between in-house marketing or going the outsourcing route. In the same sense, you want someone who can give you a realistic idea of whether or not you should create your own content or use a service like Virtual Solutions or Square Ship.
Your partner should be there to motivate you, decide with you, and push you to divide and conquer.
Choosing the right business partner is crucial. Your startup can be severely damaged with the wrong person at your side. A bad partnership can keep your business from reaching its full potential. Keep an open mind but most importantly, listen to your gut when choosing a partner.
If you have a business partner, where did you find him/her?
I want to hear your co-partner success stories!