Tips on How to Choose the Right Business Partner

They say two heads are better than one, but does that also hold true for growing businesses?
 
If you’ve started out a business on your own, then you must know what it’s like to fly solo. You enjoy the independence of doing things at your own pace and you don’t have to share control or recognition with anyone else.
 
Then again, for the business to be successful, you need to excel in different aspects such as product development, marketing, customer engagement, etc. Let’s face it's no one person can be excellent in all these things. An entrepreneur can certainly try to do everything himself, but you don’t want to spread yourself too thin either. This is where a business partner comes into the picture.
 
The worlds’ most successful businesses have been helmed by teams of two or more entrepreneurs who possess complimentary skills. For example, the partnership of Sergey Brin and Larry Page started Google, and the team of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne launched Apple. On the other hand, there are plenty of business partnerships that did not turn out so well, proving that a partnership does not necessarily guarantee success.
 
If you’re considering going into a partnership for your business, here are some tips to keep in mind:
 

  1. Look for Someone Who Brings Something Different to the Table
    Instead of bringing in someone exactly like you, look for someone who compliments your skill set. For example, if your core competency is technology, you may want to consider someone with a strong marketing background. On the other hand, you can also look for someone who offsets your weakness with their strengths. If you’re not comfortable doing pitches, maybe you can look for someone with good presentation skills. 
     
  2. Find Someone with Deep Knowledge of the Industry 
    Before starting a business, you should already have a strong working knowledge of the industry you’re about to enter. This should also hold true for your potential partner. Passion and tenacity are a given, but you definitely need a partner who knows the ins and outs of the industry and can extend your knowledge base.
     
  3. A Strong Work Ethic is a Must 
    Enthusiasm is a given in the beginning, but hard work is what gets you through the tough times. Find a partner who isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty on a daily basis. New businesses are all about details and being in the thick of it ensures that you don’t lose sight of that.
     
  4. Work with a Friend 
    This does not necessarily mean working with your best friend, but more about working with someone you genuinely like and enjoy spending time with. When the winds get rough, you’ll have to fall back on the friendship, not the business. A friendship and a partnership are not the same thing, but do pick someone you care about and truly respect.

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