How to Find The Right Business Partner
by Steve Smith
When it's time to expand your business, you might consider inviting someone to join you in a partnership. Partnerships are ideally suited for professional service business, healthcare practices and businesses with multiple locations.
But before you jump to asking someone you think you know to be your business partner, think carefully about what you really want in a partner.
I recently was asked about how to find a business partner who would be in it for the long term. This question came from an entrepreneur named Sagar. Here is the question Sagar asked:
"I want to bring on a co-founder for my company. It's really important for me to find someone that will be a great long-term fit. What should I look for in a co-founder? And what is the best way to find and attract such a person?"
After carefully considering all the business partnerships I have worked with in the last 8 years and my understanding of how business professionals work when the pressure is at it's highest, I offered the following guidance.
Sagar, in order to insure you select the best co-founder (business partner) for you and your business, you need to think extensively about what kind of person you want to work with long term.
Business partnerships have the highest failure rates of any company structure becasue the parties involved usually come together for the wrong reasons and neglect to properly vet each other for suitability.
Here are a few things to look for:
1. Like-minded outlook- does this individual possess a similar mindset for what they want, how they work and what they willl commit themselves to?
2. Skills- are they bringing a set of skills that compliment your company but off-set the areas you are deficient on?
3. Equity- Are they bringing anything to the business that you consider a tangible asset; money, clients, proprietary assets, etc. Will they have a stake in the success or failuare of the business.
4. Personality type- Can you see yourself working with this person through all the ups and downs of business ownership? Where do you see yourself collaborating vs colliding when the pressure increases? This requires you to know yourself equally well.
5. Business acumen- Does this person have the professional image or approach to doing business that you would be proud to have represent your company.
Once you've thought about and answered these questions (and any other areas you can think of) write up a co-founder profile. Knowing who you are looking for will help you connect and have conversations with people that may be able to recommend an appropriate candidate. Your best source of potential co-founders is within the relationships you have already cultivated.
Finally, take your time. Don't compromise your standards and don't give up looking. The right individual may already be in your sphere of business contacts. Once you make it known what you are looking for, the right people will start showing up.
Need a little business advice?
About the Author:
Steve Smith is an experienced business & executive coach and President of GrowthSource Coaching based in Orange County, CA. Steve works individually with business professionals who want to achieve top tier effectiveness in the organizations they run. Steve graduated from Frostburg State University with a degree in business management. In his spare time, Steve writes articles from a variety of business publications, travels with his wife on his motorcycle and cares for his adopted greyhound.