5 Things to Look for in a Business Partner

Business Partnerships

Starting a business is an exciting journey but very demanding at the same time. Depending on what kind of business you’re trying to build, there will come a time when you will be in need of help. If you are looking for a teammate who shares your passion, take some of your responsibilities and expand your skills set, a business partner might be the right fit for you.  

Choosing the right partner can make or break your business, which is why you must pay attention to certain characteristics in that person. Although, nothing guarantees that your business will succeed if you choose a certain person, you can still aim for your best shot and avoid certain mistakes. 

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Here are five things you want to look for in a business partner:

  1. Passion
  2. Trust
  3. Complementary strengths 
  4. Open-mindedness
  5. Financial responsibility

1. Passion

Your business idea is like your child, therefore you need a partner who will care for and love your idea just as much as you do. This person must believe in the potential success of the business and be willing to put in as much work as it takes to reach and surpass the business goals. If the business’ success is not their number one priority, it’s not worth bringing them on as a partner. Passion for the business should drive them just as much as it drives you.

2. Trust

Since you will be making all decisions and building this company together as a team, you must be able to fully trust and rely on your partner.  Look for someone whose insight you value and trust.They must be reliable and follow through with what they say they will do. As your partner, they must be willing to stick through the highs and lows that your company will inevitably experience.

3. Complementary Strengths

As humans, we naturally drift towards people who are like-minded to ourselves and have similar interests. While this is a good thing to have in a business partner, it is also smart to look for someone who excels in all the places you falter and challenge your way of thinking. You can share interests, but see if their strengths compliment your weaknesses to enable your business to accomplish much higher results. 

For instance, you may have started your business based on a skill or hobby you are passionate about, but your actual business knowledge may be limited. Therefore, finding a partner who is well versed in business matters like accounting, finance and overall administration, would be the best move for your business. 

In our podcast, There to Here with Ryan Dye, Shhubam Issar, co-founder of SoapPen Inc, shares how having a partner who complements her strengths has been vital for the organization’s development,

“I think we’ve been very lucky in the fact that we like very different things. Amanat is very good with numbers, which I am not…and we’ve realized that I like the sales and marketing side of things. Amanat is much better at operational production timelines. While we have very similar skill sets, we have very different likes and that’s been a huge bonus for us.” 

Finding someone with complementary strengths and skill sets to yours will increase your chances of success and growth. 

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4. Open-mindedness

An open mind is a vital quality to have in a business partner. Find someone who is willing to hear you out and consider other possibilities outside of their personal thoughts/beliefs. This also goes for risk. As a startup, you will be facing a lot of risks and it’s important that whoever is by your side is comfortable with taking these risks. Remember, likewise, to practice open-mindedness with your partner and show respect and appreciation for their input.  

5. Financial Responsibility

This may be a less considered attribute to search for, but business ultimately comes down to how to use money. This will constantly be a challenge that requires many discussions regarding its best use. Look for a partner who uses money strategically and responsibly to foster the growth of your business, while still accounting to fulfill financial obligations like paying back loans, employees, and fixed costs. You and your partner must be in agreement of what fixed income percentage will be invested back into the business and how to disperse it. Overall, make sure you both have similar views and financial goals.

In conclusion

Finding the right business partner comes down to much more than just these five things and plenty of businesses have seen tremendous success despite not meeting some of these attribute guidelines. Every business’ dynamic is different and ever changing, so what works for one may not work for another. What is clear is that partnerships can be a great step to growing your business and finding these five attributes in a business partner can smooth out the process. However, consider your company’s specific criteria while making a decision as well. At the end of the day, the success of your business comes down to the decisions that you make so be sure they are well informed and calculated.

After selecting your business partner, you must make a partnership agreement. This serves as a legally binding contract that describes the responsibilities, distribution of profits/losses, and all other general aspects of the partnership. Be sure you know what to include in this document  so that it is as thorough as possible and covers all possible scenarios and outcomes to legally protect both parties.

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