How to Choose a Business Partner

How to Choose The Right Business Partner For You

There are two approaches that you can take when deciding whether or not someone would make an ideal business partner for you to join forces with.
Unfortunately, while both strategies are required I find that many entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business people almost always fail to factor in BOTH considerations.
#1 Find the ideal match to compliment your skills.
The first approach you must take is to determine which skills you are best at (ex. sales, marketing , operations, etc.) then find a short list of folks whose own skills compliment yours by having strengths in those areas you lack the needed background, experience, and skills in.
For example, if you are socially oriented (extroverted) and you love  to interact with others but you hate doing detail-oriented work (such as data analysis and conducting research), then those are the exact skills that you want to be looking for in your ideal business partner(s.)  Many people fail at this because they naturally seek out potential partners that they “get along” with. Most often this means they connect with folks who share their background and experience.
The cold hard truth is, no one has experience in every facet of running a business.  Therefore,  you and your partner(s) should collectively have experience in all of the following functional areas that are required to plan, launch, and grow a successful business because you need to have a well-defined division of labor by splitting up the duties required.
– Sales
– Marketing (Advertising, PR, Sales Promotions)
– Communications
– Customer Care
– Product Development
– Financials
– Operations
– Market Research
– Human Resources/People management
#2: Find others whose values, beliefs, and work ethic matches your own.
You want (need) to be able to work with people that share your passions, interests, morals, values, and beliefs as well as your entrepreneurial “spirit.”   Some strategies that you can and should utilize in order to determine who might be an ideal “fit” for you as a business partner include:
– The both of you should write your own profiles and share those them with each other.
– You and any potential partners should develop a list of all the things you each want to accomplish professionally.  This list must include all of the reasons why you want to go out on your own and start a business.
– You also should develop a complete list of all the resources you each bring to the table.  These resources must include:  financial contributions you both can make, skills, your background, professional training, certifications, organization memberships and affiliations, work experience, personal and professional networks of key contacts, any clients you maintained from your previous jobs.
This comprehensive list of assets will be of critical importance as you determine which potential partners and you share the deepest, broadest collection of assets to be leveraged for the good of your business.
Ask those people closest to you who you trust the most for personal referrals of people whose skills compliment yours and whose values and beliefs most closely align with yours.
Both of you should write down what you want your (business) legacy to be when all is said and done.  Any person you consider partnering in should know what it is that you hope to leave behind/contribute to the greater good (society) as a result of planning and launching your own business.
You and your partners should therefore have skills that compliment one another.  Your strengths should match their weaknesses, and vise versa.   Your values and beliefs have to be in perfect harmony with each other, in order for you to be able to get through all of the initial emotional hurdles we all face in planning, launching, and growing a business.
Lastly, get your commitments down in writing.  Have a business attorney develop a formal partnership agreement that stipulates all of the following:
How much capital you will contribute. your credit rating, work experiences, and capital you can allocate.  Do you both have people willing to co-sign?  Do you both have a small inner circle of business advisers.   Ideally you should both have  completed a formal personality assessment tool such as Myers-Briggs, Birkman, DISC, etc. and share the findings from those assessments so you have the best possible appreciation for, and understanding of, your partners’ values, beliefs, background, experiences, hopes, and skills.
Some other criteria you can apply in your search for the ideal business partner:
– You should genuinely like each other and get along.
– You should have the same vision and mission
– You should be physically located in the same place.
– You should be able to pick each other up when you are both feeling down.
These are just a few guidelines.  Here are some additional resources for you to use in determining how to conduct an effective business partner search.
  * How to find the perfect business partner on
  * How to find the right business partner on WikiHow
  * How do I find a business partner on Inc.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Business Coach. Helping you to plan, launch, and grow your business.