by Jeff Shuford
February 21, 2019
Finding the right business partner is the work equivalent of getting married; the partnership of compatible individuals lays a foundation for a superb business or strengthens an already operating business. These six rules provide firm criteria and a solid basis for building a long-lasting and profitable partnership. All of these rules are interconnected and build upon each other; you simply need to marry your weaknesses with your business partner’s strengths to form a marketable bond.
The saying “know thyself” is essential when looking for a partner. Knowing yourself is important for any great undertaking, whether that be parenting, marriage, or business. You have to know or discover your weak spots, your skills and strengths, and your opportunities. This knowledge will help you to evaluate two things: where to improve, and, most importantly, whom to look for as a partner.
Apple Inc., founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, is a prime example of what to look for in a successful business partnership. Wozniak was dedicated to constructing computers. While Jobs had a vision, he recognized the potential to make a profit by marketing and selling the computers. If you know your weaknesses, look for someone who has strengths which cancel out or counterbalance your weaknesses. You’re running a small food-based business, but hate photographing and marketing your business on social media–find a partner who loves photography and marketing. Are you a more behind-the-scenes person? Find a people-friendly, go-getter. Just make sure that a partner is an essential link to your business and not just an optional add-on you want to complete certain tasks. If you can afford to just hire someone to do one or two skill sets that you don’t have, that’s almost always preferable.
A business partner must possess equal or more dedication to your business. When interviewing or looking for potential candidates, ask them for examples of times they went above and beyond in the professional world. Starting a business can be risky enough, so you shouldn’t have to worry about someone flaking on you or leaving you to shoulder most of the work. Some of the most successful businesses have been built on partnerships, such as Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, so it can work. You just need someone who shares or increases your enthusiasm and drive.