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How to find the right business partner

Starting a business can be a daunting experience, however you don’t have to go at it alone. You can opt for a partner, or partners, that will share with you the pressures and profits that come with running a business. Being a sole business owner can be stressful and you may find you are consistently overworking, which could have a negative impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Having a partner means being able to share the work load and working together to make the business a success.

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Finding the right partner for your small business venture is essential for the success and growth of your business, so you will need to pick wisely. You must remember though, that even if you do have the right partner, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a smooth and a problem free pursuit. However, it’s being able to deal with differences and problems effectively that will separate good partners from the bad ones.

Here are a few ways to direct you towards finding the right business partner for you and your business.

Work experience

If you have worked really well together with someone in the past, then there is a possibility that they could be a good candidate for being your business partner. Working closely with somebody, especially for a long period of time, allows you to understand their work ethic, how they think and what their values are. These are all factors that you need to consider when evaluating candidates to see if they will be a fitting business partner. You will also have an insight into their strengths and weaknesses, which will help you see how you will complement each other whilst working as partners.

Family members

Going into business with a family member can be a risky affair and many would advise against it, however it could really work. The perks of working with a family member are that you know them better than anyone, you will have a knowledge of what they are like as a person, as well as their values and attitudes towards life. As family members you are likely to share values, which is vital when forming a partnership.

Should you be experiencing any personal issues or you are having a hard time, your partner will understand better than anyone else could. This can be a great advantage and really help take the pressure off you. Assuming it’s a close family member, you are likely to be completely comfortable with each other, which will also mean that you can openly discuss all aspects of the business, and there will be a great deal of transparency when running the business.

A famous example of a family partnership in business is Roy and Walt Disney. They co-founded the company together by having different but complimentary skills. Walt was the dreamer and had visions, Roy was a realist, businessman who built his brothers visions. Together they created a multi-billion dollar empire, which shows that family partnerships can be successful.

Similar ideas, values or talents

Effective communication is key in forming a successful business partnership. From discussing the business finances to bouncing ideas off each other to develop new products, you need to be able to communicate with your partner. Choosing a partner that shares your values will again help you communicate well, encouraging a good relationship.

You can opt for somebody who has similar ideas to you. This will mean that you will share the same vision, avoiding any dispute. However, having somebody with different ideas is also a great way to grow your business. They can help you come up with different, fresh ideas, and together you will be able to contribute and create something better. The saying ‘two heads are better than one’ proves it’s validity here, because having somebody to share and discuss ideas with can really help you grow your business.

Finding talented people to consider as a partner for your business should also be a priority. If their talent is similar to yours, then it’s great because you can strive to be better together. For example if you have a photography business, and you’re both talented photographers, then you can share ideas and techniques for better results. Alternatively, if you partner with somebody with a different talent that compliments yours, this could also be really advantageous. In our recent success story, the co-founders of Whatsinit? App had completely different skillsets but together they created a successful business. Temi had a research/history background and her partner could build apps and had a tech focused background. So, either having similar or complimentary talents to work with can really make a difference to your business.

Financial stability

This is one of the most important factors to consider when going into business with a partner, you need to find out what the financial status of your prospective partner is. How much are they willing to invest into the business? How are they with finances? You need to have complete transparency when it comes to the finances for your business, the start-up costs and how much you are investing into it. Starting a business venture can be very expensive, so having a partner that can contribute to the start-up costs can really relieve pressure and stress. You will need to make sure that they can afford to go into business with you, as well as whether they have a good or a bad financial record.

Baggage

This may seem like it’s something that isn’t necessary to consider, but when you are in a partnership with someone you are relying on them heavily in order to keep their affairs in order. If they do have personal baggage, you need to make sure that they are a well-trained business professional who is able keep their personal and work life separate. If they are someone who will bring their personal problems into work and into the business partnership, it’s best to avoid them. Running a business can be time-consuming, stressful, and needs your full attention, if you have a partner who is incapable of contributing then they will not make a good partner.

These are just some of the ways in which you can narrow down the candidates for your business partner. Ideally, you should create a specification which will highlight the qualities of your ideal candidate. It will give you a guideline and a good starting point as to what kind of person you are looking for. You can then match any potential partners against your specification to see if they would make a good fit.

More on starting up and types of business here.

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