8 Things to Look for in a Business Partner

Finding the right business partner is no easy job. While business partnerships may achieve way more than one person could, they can be tricky to set up.


Business partner

If you’re planning a future together, it’s best to approach the process of choosing a business partner as seriously as you would friendships and any other personal relationships- platonic or romantic.

Here are 8 tips to find your right match:


1. Look for someone who cares about what you care about

Look for a partner who shares the same enthusiasm and commitment to nurturing and growing the business as you do. One who shares the same vision for the business and believes in it. In the long run, the greater vision will translate into a set of actions and give direction for the management and upkeep of the business.


2. Look for someone whose values align with yours

Looking for a partner whose values are in line with your own paves the way for trust. You want to make sure that you have someone who values honesty and practices good personal and business ethics.


3. Look for someone you trust, like and communicate well with

You’re likely to spend a lot of time planning, strategizing and running the business with your partner. The reality is, for that, you need to get along well with them. There needs to be a relationship that exists between you that allows for open communication. As partners, you will need to communicate effectively with each other to make decisions, set goals and move the business forward. This will require a certain level of trust.

Business partner

4. Look for mutual R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Getting along is great, but respect cannot be compromised on. No matter who you choose to partner with in business, mutual respect is crucial. Look for someone who you will respect and who will show you respect in return – as a partner, as a professional and as the founder of your business. Partnering with someone that does not value your opinion may make them reluctant, combative or simply unable to consider your viewpoint, making it hard to be successful.


5. Look for someone with effective conflict resolution strategies

The truth is, conflict will occur at some stage. You may not always see eye-to-eye and may sometimes bump heads. Look for someone who, in the face of conflict, will seek to resolve it peacefully and with empathy. With 65% of high-potential start-ups failing as a result of conflict among partners, you have to have a partner who has a proactive and strategic approach on conflict management such as collaboration and ultimately, compromise.


6. Look for someone with a positive mindset

Look for a person who doesn’t let failure discourage them but rather, inspire them. Any successful person can tell you at least one great failure story. Knowing that trial and error are a major part of business allows you to flip the way you think about setbacks. This way of thinking empowers you to move forward with your business smarter and faster.

Business partner

7. Look for someone who complements you

Team up with someone who can do what you can’t. The more skills between you and your partner, the easier it will be to start, grow and run the business. Look for a business partner whose skills complement and support your own. For instance, if you know your superpower is building relationships with clients and theirs is business accounting, you can maximise your skillsets to bolster the business.


8. Look for someone who plans ahead (for the worst)

In the end, partnerships are legal relationships and we all know breakups can become messy. If the partnership goes wrong, it’s best to have an exit strategy – a shared understanding of when, how and why the alliance would end. Misunderstanding and uncommunicated expectations can ruin even the best of friendships.

Look for a partner who is willing to, in writing, discuss:

  • the circumstances under which the business partnership would end,
  • how the business would be valued at the end,
  • acceptable options for future ownership
  • and importantly, what post-alliance ties and restrictions such as non-compete clauses apply.

For one reason or another, some partnerships simply won’t work, and this may not even be because of the people involved. However, you shouldn’t throw the idea of finding a business partner out. The right business partner can help you shoulder both the responsibility and the burden of a business – you just need to find your match.

Fezile Biyela

Fezile is an idealistic daydreamer and night owl on a mission to help small businesses succeed. She daydreams about how she can help change the world and stays up late trying to - one word at a time.

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