If your business has reached a point where it’s prudent to take on a partner, you’ll need to choose wisely. A good business partner can help you grow your business, but a bad partner can cost you money, opportunities, and even your business itself.
When considering a potential partner, look beyond their resume or history. Assess these seven qualities before extending an offer.
You and your business partner should share the same values and definitions of right and wrong. If not, you’ll find it impossible to set consistent expectations for your staff and maintain a cohesive and productive organizational culture.
It’s also critical to share the same vision about your business’ direction. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself spending more time fighting over strategic and tactical decisions rather than planning and executing them.
Avoid people who consistently promise to handle things but fail to deliver. An unreliable business partner can cost you business opportunities, undermine your credibility as a leader with your staff at risk, and hurt your business reputation.
Most often, the best business partners are strong in areas where you’re weak. For example, if you’re strong at products and promotion, a good business partner might be adept at finance and accounting. Look for someone who brings to the table what you don’t.
The last thing you need as you build your business is a spendthrift. The money you earn now should be spent on building your business, not on their office furniture, travel, and bonuses. Do your due diligence on any prospective partner’s financial history first.
Your business partner doesn’t need to have the exact same risk tolerance as you. But you also don’t want to empower someone whose appetite for risk is so at odds with yours that they either stop all forward momentum out of fear or else repeatedly jeopardize your business with unnecessary risks. Get a clear sense of your differences in this area before you finalize any partnership agreement.
While your risk appetites may vary, your passion for the business should not. Your passion is what will keep you working — when it’s late at night, when times are tough, and when you’re second-guessing yourself. A partner who’s not nearly as passionate as you are about your business is not worth having, no matter what other assets they have.
Selecting a business partner is one of the most consequential decisions you can make. But by assessing these seven attributes, you can pick a partner who can help you take your business to the next level.