So, you think you need a business partner? First, make sure you are sure. It can be enticing to jump into business with someone you recently met. You are in the same industry, you both want to run a great business and you really hit if off. It's lonely and frustrating to go it alone. But getting into business with someone you barely know is like eloping after the first date because you don't want to be alone on Saturdays. It might work, but it's more likely to go bad quick. Few things can drag businesses down as quick as a bad partnership. While it's ideal to have a great partner, the next best is to go it alone. The bottom rung of this ladder is a bad partnership. So, test out potential partner relationships at first and then scale up. Look at their past for clues to your future. Ensure you have a shared vision, complementary skills and love and respect for each other and you'll soon be singing in perfect harmony.
You Make My Dreams Come True
The first key to a successful partnership is sharing the same vision. What are your goals? How will you make and spend money? What's the value proposition of your company? How are decisions made? Is anything non-debatable? You don't have to be on the same train but you do need to be on parallel tracks. Most of the emotions applicable to a personal relationship will hold true to your business relationship. Which is to say, it can get unruly and messy at times. So set expectations. Be clear. Put it in writing. How much are you willing to put in? What are your responsibilities? What happens when someone wants to leave? Have the tough conversations up front while things are going well. Rifts will happen when you are in the pressure cooker of growing your business.
So Fresh, So Clean
You should mesh with your partner in both skill-set and style. If you are relentless and hard, a dynamic and free-flowing companion may do the trick. Do you think big picture or are you more detail oriented? Are you a free thinker or a taskmaster? Perhaps you are great at sales, marketing and storytelling so your analytical partner can develop and plan product development. Your skills need not and should not overlap much. If you and your business partner have the same skill set, then one of you isn't necessary. And you don't want to partner with someone who is replaceable (especially when that could be you). Or perhaps you are you great at all things. Congratulations Beyonce, you don't need a partner. You just need to hire the right people to implement your genius. But if have a few holes in the boat, the right partner will help keep your business seaworthy and you can captain the ship together. Look at that, speaking of captains...
Love Will Keep Us Together
You've got to have trust, respect & chemistry with you partner. There will be hard times and disagreements. How have you two handled adversity in the past? It's not always worth putting an existing friendship under stress if it can't take it. If the business goes bad, will it shatter your friendship or even your marriage? Pay special attention when getting into business with family. That must be done with even more forethought and restraint. Open communication is key. Do you and your partner connect in a way you can constructively build each other up? You must be willing to check in, access and openly evaluate each other in order to have a fulfilling partnership.
So you want a partner? Get out and live your life. Meet different people. Have a lot of conversations. Listen. Develop skills and relationships that charge you up and showcase you at your best. Go to classes, networking events, neighborhood BBQ's, art shows, concerts and festivals. Become immersed in all the things you love. You will find people who are in alignment with you. In time, it could lead to a great partnership.