Choosing A Business Partner – 3 Things to Avoid

Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little. Together, we can do so much.”

In life, we crave connection, and partnership. Personally and professionally, forging relationships can be life changing. But selecting the right partner – one who complements you and with whom you can work seamlessly and productively – can be a daunting task. This blog post will help guide you through that process by highlighting three things you should avoid when choosing a business partner.

You have similar backgrounds

You may have studied the same thing in college; perhaps you met in a prior job where you worked together. However, you should probably consider whether or not you are bringing the same skills and expertise to the table, and if in fact, this is in the company’s best interest.

It might be more strategic to partner with someone who has different skills and interests; someone who can fill the gaps where you are perhaps lacking. If you have a business background and intend to be focused on sales and development, it might make sense to partner with someone who is more product/services-oriented and can be responsible for day-to-day operations.

You are not sure if you get along

How well do you really know your prospective business partner? How well should you know him?

You should know him well enough to determine if there is a sense of mutual respect. Building a business is stressful and demanding. Tempers can flare and there is a lot at stake. You want to make sure that you are working with someone who has your back, shares your vision, and treats you kindly when the going gets tough.

Conflict can get in the way (big time) with the monumental task of growing your business. If you and your business partner cannot get along, especially under difficult circumstances, you are doomed to failure.

You do not share the same sense of commitment

This is a big one. Setting expectations before you partner with someone is critically important. Are you going to work evenings and weekends and do all that it takes to get your business humming? Or, do you have family commitments that make that impossible? Some of the things you should probably discuss in advance include:

  • What does a typical work week look like?
  • What are standards and expectations around non-work hours? Can you contact each other? By phone? By email? How quick should the turnaround be?
  • Will there be expected travel? If so, who will do the travelling? How often?
  • Will you be expected to invest money in the business? If so, how much? How often?
  • Do you have other obligations and commitments in your life that demand of your time and attention (family/volunteering/health)? How do these factor into your business?

Taking the time to talk these matters through will go a long way in determining if the prospective partnership is a match made in heaven or a recipe for disaster.

Are you thinking of taking on a business partner? Do you need advice along these lines? If so, contact Miller Bernstein today for your free consultation.

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