How to Find the Right Business Partner for your Startup

How to Find the Right Business Partner for your Startup

Are you looking for someone who can help you with your business? Do you need someone to share the pleasures and pains of a venture with? Are you looking for someone who can help you with your business? Do you need someone to share the pleasures and pains of a venture with? You have arrived at the right place to learn how to find a suitable business partner. Here is a list of four factors to consider when searching and choosing your business partner.

Look for talents complementary to yours

Let’s start with a trivial but useful observation: we are not all the same and, above all, we don’t all have the same experience and skills. Your business partner must be someone who complements your skills so that together you will have fewer weaknesses. If you have talent for marketing and networking, look for a person who enjoys doing things that you do not like (e.g. dealing with bureaucratic tasks and keeping finances in order). Alternatively, if you are a visionary or an idealistic person, look for someone who is down to earth and particularly good in getting things done. And so on, and so forth, I’m sure you get the gist of it.

Thus, start with assessing your own characteristics, skills, and preferences of things that you do and don’t like to do, and see what qualities you are missing and which tasks you would like someone else to do. Subsequently, use these criteria in order to find a person that matches your needs.

Make sure that you’re on the same page

The law of “opposites attract” can certainly work to a certain extent, primarily with regard to the talent and characteristics that we discussed in point #1. However, it is important to realize that choosing a business partner is a bit like getting married – it is not recommended to bind to a stranger. Some entrepreneurs even admit that it would have been smarter to first take at least a year to get to know their partner better before actually committing to joining together in business.

If you and your partner have not only opposite personalities but also quite different values and lifestyles, the situation may even become explosive. To prevent such potential problems, the only thing you can do is to carefully study the personality, lifestyle, and values of your potential partner and try to figure out whether he/she would be a good match for you.

Personality and Belief

In order to help you in this matchmaking process, there are various tests specifically designed for this purpose, for example the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (the official test costs money, but there are also various free tests based on the same philosophy available) or the HEXACO. You can ask potential partners to take these tests so you can get a better idea of who you are dealing with.

The last, but certainly not the least, important factor to verify in this department is whether a potential partner truly believes in your project. If your partner lacks belief in your project or the vision that it’s based on, frustrating situations are inevitable: such a situation will naturally translate into a lack of common goals, which, in turn, leads to an unequal amount of commitment and time, energy, or money investment that the two of you will be willing to make.

Do not surround yourself with “yes-people”

One of the most insidious risks is to surround yourself with overly complacent people. Remember: successful entrepreneurship relies on a permanent willingness to learn and to improve yourself.

If you do not have anyone to frankly discuss the strong and the weak points of your projects with, the two of you risk isolating yourself in your own bubble, which, in effect, makes your team prone to becoming delusional. So, look for people who are brave enough to tell you what they really think. Your most valuable ally will be the one who is able to argue with you without having to resort to competitive or combative discussion methods.

The moral of the story is: it is certainly more constructive to have an argument with your partner occasionally firing up than to have a tendency of both agreeing with one another in order to refrain from stepping on the other’s toes, because the latter could truly ruin your business without you two even being aware of it.

Do you really need a business partner?

The final but most crucial point is to assess whether you really need a business partner to begin with. Sometimes you just have a good feeling and immediately match with a person. If you then also realize that you are both working hard and that you are having fun together, you should definitely partner up. Only seems logical right? Well, yes, sometimes you indeed just have to trust your feelings in business.

However, there are a few factors that you must absolutely take into consideration first!

Do you actually have enough money or revenue to be able to have a partner? Do you need the skills of this person for a short period or will he/she fulfill a structural need of your company? Depending on the answers to these questions, it may indeed be best to jump into the boat together; however, before you do so, make sure to be transparent about these factors to your potential partner first!

Alternatively, depending on these factors, it is sometimes better to hire a person as a collaborator rather than as a partner. In this, you will have more freedom to determine whether you need full-time, part-time, or temporary help. In this, you could also set it up as a trial period to figure out – for both of you – if you are ready and willing to take it to the next level!