When you first start a business, you will always have the option to start the business alone or bring along a business partner with you. Sometimes, it’s good to have a business partner with you and other times it can end in failure. There are certain attributes you should look out for when you’re looking for a business partner to start your company with.
There have been successful businesses started with a partner and there are successful businesses that have been started by a sole founder. But having a business partner is an important decision in determining whether your business will succeed or fail. The wrong business partner can end in a disaster whereas the right business partner can take your business to new heights.
If you ask someone in the business world whether they would like to have a business with a partner, you will have mixed answers. Some people preach having a business partner while other people couldn’t care less about having a business partner.
Having run two different businesses, one with a partner and one without a partner, I am not biased towards either as I believe there are both benefits and drawbacks to each. I did learn a lot having a partnership. It’s difficult, but if you work at it, you can have a successful company. Here is how to have a successful partnership.
Are They Your Friend?
The problem with a lot of business partnerships is that they initially start off as friendships. This can be disastrous because friendship doesn’t always equal a good partnership. Sometimes friends are the worst people to be in business with.
The reason you don’t want to start a business with a friend is because that relationship is delicate and it’s hard to know the line between a friendship and a partnership. It’s hard to speak up as you don’t want to hurt their feelings. This can end in resentment and a failed partnership. Because of the failed partnership, you can hurt your friendship and your relationship with your friend won’t be the same afterward.
What to Look For
When you’re looking for someone to start a business with, you want them to be someone you’re friendly with but not necessarily your friend as emphasized in the earlier paragraph. When I first met my business partner, he happened to have previously run a company with my brother. We didn’t have a friendship beforehand; it was a working relationship the entire time. He and I both knew what we needed to get done and executed on just that.
The partner you have in your business should be someone who can compliment your weaknesses. What you’re weak in, he or she will have that as a strength. What you’re strong in, your business partner could be weak in. You don’t necessarily have to both be good at something. One person can focus on marketing while the other person can focus on the design of the website. My partner was someone who was more behind the scenes as I was more the person who would help promote the company through podcasts and other speaking engagements. You want to make sure it’s someone who you can trust in their abilities, and that you can let them be free without worrying about what they’re doing.
Finding a business partner can be hard especially if you don’t know where to begin. Is there anyone you know who has a business mindset and would be open to the idea of your company? Think of the people you work with or have worked with in the past. You will want to concentrate on your second circle of influence. These are people who aren’t your friends, but you know them. I came across eMINDSCLUB which allows you to connect with other entrepreneurs who are potentially looking for a business partnership.
Have a Contract in Place
No matter how good a partnership is in the beginning, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. You can find yourself being a liability if you don’t have the proper contract in place. By having a contract in place, you will be protecting yourself. This is a simple step, but one that most entrepreneurs overlook. It’s always better to protect yourself than not to protect yourself.
The last way to having a successful business partnership is to set boundaries. You won’t want your partner to do the same thing you’re doing because it will be a waste of time. You will have to find someone who has different abilities than the ones you currently possess. When you find someone who has different abilities than yourself, you will want to set boundaries.
By setting boundaries you can stick to what you’re good at, and so can your business partner. During the first few weeks with your partner is when you will want to set your boundaries. What are you going to do that your partner will not do and vice versa? If you’re good at social media, you stick to social media, while your partner sticks with design.
But just because you’re setting boundaries with a partner, that doesn’t mean they can’t share their ideas with you. Always be open to other people’s ideas no matter what their standing is; they could have an intuition you hadn’t seen before.
In the end, you can only go with your gut. You can research all the different ways to find the right partner for your business, but go with the decision that feels best for you. And you don’t have to limit yourself to only one business partner, you can have multiple partners, but just remember: each time you bring on a new partner, set boundaries. When you choose a partner for your business, make sure you do your due diligence and listen to your gut!
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.