14 Feb Finding a Business Partner: Who Can You Trust?
It’s nice to go into business with someone you can trust. This way, you don’t have to go at it alone. Having a partner means you don’t have to drive yourself to poverty using all your money to fund a business. Starting a company also means getting emotional about it. It would be nice to have someone to share that emotional toll with. And you know what they say? Two heads are always better than one. So when it comes to making decisions, it’s great to have someone to butt heads with in order to hash out the best solution to a problem.
But how do you know if the person is the right partner for you? It might be a difficult question on how to find a business partner. Here are some questions you need to ask to determine if you have the right business partner.
How much do you trust your potential partner?
Okay, a business should not be about life and death, but a partner should be someone you could trust with your life. A business, after all, is your life—your livelihood. So if you have that kind of partner, it means that you can trust that person financially, because money matters are the most common problem arising between partners. A lot of business breakups happen because of financial temptations.
Finding a business partner is very complicated. Just because a person is your family doesn’t mean you can trust that person explicitly. Family members are actually hard to deal with because you tend to just give the person a pass when they make mistakes. So make sure that if you partner up with family, there should be a real line drawn up in business matters.
Will he / she be able to personify the brand?
You want a partner that is serious about the brand you are creating. If you are, for example, opening an event and organizing company, you and your partner should be sociable. This way, you would know what the company will need in the forefront. You can’t have a partner who is just interested in staying at the back and hitting the books. If you are opening a restaurant, your partner should also be passionate about food. He should be active in tasting the food that you put out, getting the appropriate kitchen people in place, etc. Or if you are opening a cleaning service company, that partner should be a neat freak—and so should you.
Does his / her skills complement with yours?
As mentioned earlier, the great thing about having a partner is that you have a person that could share the business load with you. So if you are good with numbers but are not great with marketing, you should have a partner that can make up for your lack in marketing skills. A business partner should be the yin to your yang. And it really helps that your partner is not entire the same as you because you could properly discuss problems and lay out various solutions so you can choose the best viable resolution.
Is he / she stable?
Find a partner that is financially and emotionally stable.
There are many challenges facing small businesses, so make sure you have a partner who’s willing to bear the burden with you and resolve these problems.
Having a financially unstable partner is a red flag. Chances are there might come to a point when he becomes desperate and he would touch the business funds. This is very dangerous especially when you have a pool of employees. Not only will the company destroy relationship with clients, the livelihood of your people will also be in the line.
Meanwhile, you also want an emotionally stable partner because businesses are prone to problems. And problems can range from financially to physical to structural that all these could take an emotional toll on just anyone. You have to be strong enough to handle this and you will need a partner who is just as strong or you would be saddled with carrying the weight of your business and your partner at the same time. That could be the company’s downfall.
How is your partner’s personal life?
You need a partner who is as committed to the business as you are. A partner who may have a problem with his family life could not commit as fully to the business. But this is not the end game. You can talk about it. If your partner is honest and will say that he could only devote about 40 percent of the total business effort to the company, and you are willing to make up for the remaining 60 percent, then that’s something you can work on. In this situation, you could discuss a possible fiscal understanding where the person who works more will also get more.
If your partner is single and is looking for love, you might have a hard time tying him down to the business. He could be out most days or nights and you’d be left to manage the business by yourself. So make sure you scrutinize your partner’s personal situation. You should be discriminating when looking for a business partner. Having a business partner is just like having a spouse. There should be love, respect and compromise.
So let’s go back to the question: How to find a business partner? Finding a business partner is complicated. Just because he or she is your best friend doesn’t mean he is the best business partner. Just because you share the same blood doesn’t mean he will not be a bad partner. There are so many things that you need to consider when looking for a partner. But it really boils down to trust. You need a partner you can trust to carry his own weight around, who will work hard for the success of the company, and someone you can trust to embody the goals and principles of the business.
Even if you have a personal relationship with a business partner, it should be clear that a business partnership is something formal and it has a format. It involves rules and all rules should be documented. This is why it is important that no matter how personally close you are to a business partner, the partnership should be on paper. Both partners should be willing to draw up a contract to formalize the business transaction and business roles should also be laid out to prevent problems.