How to choose your business partner

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The work of Business Partners has impacted you

Apple. HP. Windows. Google.
Familiar businesses aren’t they?
Wozniak & Jobs. Hewlett & Packard. Gates & Allen. Page & Brin.
These are just the names of people who have impacted your life knowingly or not. The common theme is that these are the name of business partners who clicked and produced something innovative. It is their partnership that enabled them to do this.
Going into business with anyone can be daunting and brings up an array questions. Should I have a business partner with a best friend? A family member? A relative stranger?
These are all valid questions and concerns. However, these are not the right questions.
If you go into any partnership it is important to take a breath and assess the situation, or rather the person. Do you have the same goals? Do you have similar passions? The are just some of the important topics to consider and ponder.

We will go through a few tips and thoughts for you to consider when thinking about business partners for your little startup.

Business Values for Business partners

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The first topic to consider is whether your business partner has the same values for you. This is vital. They need to have similar core principles – such as determination, creativity, innovation, a sense of entrepreneurship and so on. Having the same/similar ideologies will mean that when you do have bumps along the way, you can lean on each other and support each other. Juhi Chawla and Shahrukh Khan (who own Kolkata Knight Riders and Red Chillies Entertainment) have often stated how each other’s support and counsel comforts them and gives them confidence to keep going in their business ventures. Partnerships are about helping each other out emotionally, physically and spiritually!
A good way of seeing this is through your potential business partner’s handling of people around him. If the manner that is displayed resonates with the way you also handle people, then chances are high that you share similar core values. Pay attention to the way family, friends are treated, but also to the way subordinates are talked to, as well as peers and those in high ranking positions.
From this then you can talk about your goals for the business. It is crucial that you both are on the same wavelength where you want to take your business. There’s nothing wrong if, initially, both of you have different goals. If anything, that’s great. The more varied ideas/goals could lead to each of you thinking from a different perspective that you may not have done if it weren’t for your partner! The real test is whether you can both debate expectations, which then results in a common goal. This then would also indicate whether you are able as a partnership to resolve conflict.

Complementary business partnership skill sets

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The second topic is to look at is what skillset they bring. Contrary to what was said above, in this situation, you should have different skills – skills that complement each other. If you are setting up an Advisory Finance business and you are the creative/marketing one, does your partner have more knowledge about finance and has relationships at the bank to get the loan. Do they also know about working capital loans and invoice financing? If not, then abort mission and start again.
You must truthfully state what your strengths and limitations and so should your partner. These intangibles are hard to pinpoint but look at each other’s employment history and what skills and abilities are similar – and different. Great partnerships are built on different skillsets. Arguably one of the most famous partnerships is Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Wozniak handled the technical side of the business whilst Jobs looked at the marketing and financial side. This led to the biggest company in the world right now. Getting the right business partner enables you to maximise your abilities and focus which translates to more productivity, innovation and quality.

Same levels of partnership passion and commitment

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The third topic is to verify they have the same level of passion and commitment as you. Make sure your partner has the time, energy and effort available to exert. If not, then your business will be damaged by it. They are your partner. They are your equal. Which means that they must put in as much as you. Your business cannot be a secondary interest. A business partner should be value-adding. Who should jump in with you in the deep-end as opposed to someone who is employed 9-5 and leaves the work at his desk.

Try and guage whether your potential business partner has any other passions or interests. Chances are that if they dedicate their lives towards the pursuit of a goal, then they have what it takes to commit to something and stick to it.

It’s also important to set expectations for the business partner and then judge whether or not they are fully commiting to the cuase. People can often fake excitement and commitment for a few weeks maximum, but any longer and their true colours start to show.

Business partners – Conclusion

So, there you have it. There are other pre-requisites which others may look at but, choosing a business partner should be done on character. A partnership has a lot of intangibles which can’t always be explained with psychology or science but, through talking and getting to know each other, something may just click – that click may be the next big thing.

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