Point One: Do you need one?
It is important to consider why does your business need a partner. Do you need help with marketing, finance, business planning or technology? Where does your expertise lie and what are your shortcomings? If you do not need help in these areas, then you needn’t get a business partner. If you need the skills on a short-term basis then it may be better to hire a freelancer, business consultant or lawyer for the problem you have.
Point Two: How can a partner help you?
When considering taking on a partner it is important to ensure that they have complementary traits to yours. If you are a tech genius, then you may want to team up with someone who has business savvy. If you are impulsive and quick to make decisions, you may want to partner with someone who is grounded and a bit more level-headed to help balance you out. Furthermore, a partner can bring financial assistance to your business. They may even help you to make better decisions while in your business. Building a great strategic partnership could also help your business.
Point Three: How do you choose a partner?
Take your partner out for lunch. By doing this you can assess how your partner will treat your employees by their behaviour towards the server. In addition, you can assess whether you share the same goals and aspirations for your business. Ask your potential partner how much they wish to take out of the company for themselves. You may get someone who just wants to make a profit to finance their lavish lifestyle or you could get someone who wishes to re-invest the profits into your business while taking a portion home. It is important to be aware of how they like to spend their money.
Furthermore, consider if you have worked with your partner before. If you have not worked with them before it may be good to partner with them on a small project to see what their work ethic is like and how they behave towards clients.
Another quality to consider is how trustworthy is this person. Can you trust them to make decision in the interest of the company to help grow it into a successful business? If you cannot trust your partner, then it may not be a good idea to go into business with them.
Point Four: Draw up a partnership agreement
Yes. This is a critical piece of documentation when it comes to a partnership. It is important to layout who is responsible for what in the business, how will decisions be made and what will happen should a dispute arise in your business. It is naive to think that you will not argue when you go into a partnership but it is critical to have this agreement in place so that you have a place to go back to when trouble comes into the partnership.
By going through these points you will be well on your way to finding the best partner for your business if you need one. You will be able to assess your business partner and ensure they have complementary skills and share your vision to create an amazing business together.
First published by NSBC