So, you’re going into business and you’re on the search for the right person(s) to help you along the way. Finding a business partner is more than simply choosing your best friend or the smartest guy from your day job – it’s a process that should be picked through with a fine-toothed comb.
Long-time entrepreneur and business expert Patrick Henry Maddren expresses the one piece of advice he would give his younger self is to vet his business partners ten times more than he did first starting out.
When you bring a partner into your business, you are now sharing your vision with another person, and placing a lot of trust in them in the process. Understanding that bringing another person into your plans is sure to shift the dynamic and will more than likely take a process of trial and error before you really find a groove. Luckily, there are a plethora of people out there who can speak from experience and provide guidance on this process. Here are some tips for when it comes to choosing your business partner(s).
It may seem obvious, but finding a business partner who shares a passion for your goals and your business is absolutely key. Understand that you are going to be working together to achieve one larger outcome, so getting familiar with their business approach and their values should be your first step.
Find a skillset that complements your own.
“It’s important that you find someone to complement your strengths and balance out your weaknesses,” says Patrick Henry Maddren. You don’t want a business partner who is exactly like you, but you do want someone who communicates similarly and can pick up your slack. Finding someone with a shared vision who can shine the spotlight on your strengths and offset your weaknesses is key. Say you struggle with time management and daily operations – find a business partner with fantastic organization skills and a go-with-the-flow, problem-solving mentality.
Find someone with a respectable financial history.
Depending on how well you know your potential business partner, vetting them for any discrepancies in their financial history can be a big tell about someone. Obviously, you want a partner who is financially stable and responsible in their own life so that you feel safe putting your business in their hands. Do your due diligence, and don’t slack on this step just because they are fun to be around!
Know how your relationship may change.
It’s not always the best idea to go into business with family or loved ones, because emotional ties and money often do not coincide well. Understand how your relationship with your business partner may change if they are close to you and establish your boundaries. If your potential partner is not close or related to you, it would still be a good idea to analyze your boundaries and establish the working nature of your relationship right off the bat.
Have an exit strategy prepared.
Anytime you go into business with another person, it’s important to think preventatively in the case of a falling out or dissolving. Anything can happen in business, and planning an appropriate strategy ahead of time is a method of protection for both you and your partner. Patrick Henry Maddren believes that any valuable business partner will share this forethought and have the ability to form a productive partnership agreement without taking offense.
Bringing another person into your team can be daunting – not only are you giving your trust, but you’re allowing to let go of some control and hoping for the best outcome. You may experience a process of trial and error before you find a dynamic that sticks, but planning ahead to set your expectations and protect yourself will make the process much easier to roll with.