Considerations for finding the right business partner

If you think of your business as your child, you start to see just how important finding the right business partner is.

Compatibility, vision and values are important measures when considering whether a partnership might be successful. Finding a partner who compliments your strengths and weaknesses and who shares your vision is no easy task. But it can make or break your business.

Why do you want a business partner?

Consider why you want a business partner and whether you are ready for a partnership. Do you need a certain skill set to enhance your business? Are you looking for access to certain clients or networking opportunities? Are you prepared for relinquishing some control of your business? What do you see this business partner bringing to your company?

Examine strengths and weaknesses in your business

When considering potential business partners, consider whether the candidate has expertise in a specific field that you need or can benefit from. Look carefully at what your strengths are and what someone else might be able to help elevate your business. You may be excellent in motivating and managing your team, but could use some help in marketing your business. Knowing what exactly you want from a potential partner will help you pick the right one.

Flexibility and support

One benefit to taking on a partner is the flexibility and the added support. We have all heard about the difficulties of single parenting. Likewise, running a business alone can leave you stressed, exhausted and overwrought. A partner can help lead the direction of the company and share the burden of so many responsibilities. However, sharing the burden means sharing the power and the benefits. Negotiating this aspect of the business partnership requires extreme precision.

Personality compatibility is important

Evaluate the potential partner’s personality. Is it compatible with yours? Are you likely to be able to make mutual decisions even when you may not agree? You may want to use a personality assessment to give you a sense of the person. Finding out what motivates people to do a good job is critical to finding out whether you have a good match or not. If his or her motivation is the same as yours or complements yours well, you have a better chance of making it work.

Assess potential risk to existing relationships

If you are considering someone that you have a longstanding relationship with or family ties, you may want to take a moment to consider whether the partnership is worth risking the relationship/s. Avoid making partnerships because of money. In this situation, the person with the money has substantial leverage and power. This can lead to problems in the long run, especially if you are not a good match

Document everything in writing

Be sure to discuss your expectations and the aspects of the partnership before signing any deals. Once you are ready to make a commitment, be sure to put everything in writing. Document the organisational structure and who is responsible for what aspects of the business. Additionally, be sure to make a buy-sell agreement to protect both parties if someone decides to sell his or her shares, retires or dies.