How to Find the IDEAL Business Partner.
One of the most common challenges that entrepreneurs can face when forming a new business is deciding whether or not to bring in formal partners that they commit to by signing a formal partner agreement.
It is important to note that I am NOT talking about forging informal partnerships with vendors, suppliers, providers that you might barter with one another to provide services to each other, in lieu of payment. We are talking about forming a legally binding partnership arrangement.
Whether you are forging a formal partnership agreement or forging loosely defined partnerships, there are certain strategies you can follow to ensure success. you can start by answering the following questions BEFORE you begin to seek potential partners.
Define your needs. Ideally you should find someone whose skills, background and experience complement but not necessarily overlap your own. You want to seek people whose skills complement your own. For example, if you are highly analytical, detail-oriented and introverted, an ideal partner would be gregarious, and a “BIG PICTURE” kind of person.
Do they share your values? You also want to make sure that any person that you decide to partner with shares your values, belief, and commitment to your start-up business.
How much time are they willing to invest? One of the sure-fire ways that you can get angry at a partner is when you feel that they are not investing the same amount of hard work as you. I see this all the time in my business coaching work with entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small business owners.
Anything in their background that should give you pause? Do your due diligence and research their background. Run a Dun & Bradstreet report on them, to see if they have ever been involved in any lawsuits, judgements, bankruptcies, or liens. how is their credit history?
How committed are they? Do they have any outside family issues that would prevent them from giving your business start-up the focus and attention it will demand?
How well do they respond to adversity? No matter how ideal your partnership union, or how smoothly your initial honey moon phase goes, invariably you and your partner(s) are going to face challenging times. The true measure of a person is how well they respond to adversity. Do they fold like a cheap tent, or will they have the fortitude and mental toughness that is required to remain committed to you achieving your short and long-term business goals together?
What standing do they have in their community? Namely, what type of reputation have they forged with people who know them? Are they kind, caring, thoughtful people? Do they get involved in community activities? Do they lend their time and effort for the greater good of COMMUNITY?
Will they commit to the partnership IN WRITING? Are they going to willingly put everything that you agree to in your partnership in writing? At the end of the day, you will need to hire an attorney to help you craft a partnership agreement that covers you both. So, how willing are they to commit their commitments to you on paper?
Do you REALLY need a partner? What exactly are you looking for in a partnership? When I formed my business consulting firm, I wish that I had found partners, to help lighten the workload. Partners can assist in the financial investment in the firm, and lastly (but certainly NOT least) can provide emotional support through the sense of shared mission that comes from being IN IT together. It always helps to have people by your side.
However, there are people who will prefer to take a “go at it alone” approach. To those folks, having a partner is not a viable option. These independent types would only see partners as obstacles that get in their way. If you are that type of individual that is absolutely fine. Just know that forging a partnership may not be the right course of action to pursue.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
Choosing a Business Partner
How to Find the IDEAL Business Partner.