You have a great business idea that you’re passionate about, and you’re excited to get started, but before you do, you need to choose a business partner. This person can help you make complex decisions and guide your team through projects. They can be your best ally.
However, if your partner doesn’t have values and goals that align with yours or adds more stress to situations, they may be detrimental to your business. To make sure you don’t end up in the wrong partnership, look for these eight essential qualities of a business partner from members of Young Entrepreneur Council.
Looking for a business partner who can help take your company to the next level is crucial for the success of any business. Ideally, I look for someone who is just as passionate about the business as I am. This includes finding a partner who has a shared vision for the organization and strives to move the business forward toward the same long-term goals. Equally, it’s important to share similar values, entrepreneurial spirit, working styles and compatibility. Why is this so important? A great business idea can easily be damaged by a negative business relationship. It’s your responsibility as an entrepreneur to do your due diligence in finding and selecting the right partner for you and your business. – Neel Kawale, Haüskey
A good business partner is direct. I often use a saying in business, with my family and with my friends, and this saying is, “No one can read your mind.” You have to tell people what’s on your mind in a direct, straightforward manner. Nothing is truer in business. Sometimes you’ll have good ideas, and sometimes they will be downright terrible. A business partner that is direct can bring honest feedback to any situation. You don’t have to guess if they said what’s on their mind or how they feel about it. They tell you. Every business is better when partners are direct with one another. – JT Allen, myFootpath LLC
3. Industry Knowledge
I suggest looking for potential business partners that have a firm understanding of the industry. If you’ve already started your company, you likely don’t have time to teach a new partner the basics. Look for people with experience, education, references and, preferably, a personal brand website. When you connect with someone with these traits, you’ll have more time to focus on improving the business from within. As an added bonus, partnering with another expert in the industry can boost brand awareness. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
4. Strong Work Ethic
Having the same work ethic was a key ingredient to finding a successful partnership in my experience. It is hard to notice this trait unless the partners were former co-workers or had worked together previously. Most of the time, people are enthusiastic when it comes to starting a business, but then they realize how much work is involved day-to-day and fade out or slow down. This could frustrate the other partners or start various conflicts. By having the same work ethics, partners would easily agree on priorities on almost everything, which makes running a business smoother. In other words, the partner should be efficient. This efficiency would lead to a successful business. – Meeky Hwang, Ndevr, Inc
You can be intellectually connected with a person, you can have complementary skills, have a different or the same background and so many more connectors that traditionally speak for a good business partnership. The one thing that you cannot buy and is not easy to find is stamina. Stamina comes into play when things get tough, which are usually the moments when you need your business partner the most. In these moments, there will always be a pull and push relationship between two business partners. This is healthy and helps to get through tough times. However, if that determination, strength and resourcefulness to get through tough times is not balanced, then it’s hard for the partnership to survive that. Stamina is one of the trickiest qualities to test upfront in a business partner, but it’s a “make or break” quality. – Fabi Hubschmid, Markaaz
6. Diversified Business Skills
Diversified business skills are critical when selecting a business partner. The partner should have the ability to take on different tasks within their separate skill sets and cover the core competencies of the business. You will need to dig a bit deeper and truly understand that all parties must have the same set of business and personal values. Aligning your values is mission-critical because your business will inevitably send you countless challenges, and you’ll need to lean on your core values as a team to fight your way through. If one person doesn’t have the same set of values, the partnership will break. Your core values should be discussed early on and understood, so when rough waters arrive, you’ll have the confidence in your partner to adjust the sails and persevere! – Tom Finn, LeggUP Inc.
7. Previous Successful Experience
The most important thing to look for in a business partner is a complementary skill set, not an identical or similar one to what you already possess. The key to knowing what to look for is having an accurate and impartial understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses. If you’re a big picture person but could use a hand when it comes to the mechanics of operating a successful business, look for a partner with a proven track record managing similar companies. If outside funding is going to be a requirement for growing your business, the team you’ve assembled will be the first thing that venture capitalists (VCs) and other investors evaluate. Experience speaks volumes, so if you’re a first-time founder, look to partner with someone with previous success. – Mark Stallings, Casely, Inc
8. Dedication To Growth
You really want to align yourself with someone who has a long-term vision in mind. If you partner with someone who is in it for quick success, they will be less likely to stick around when things don’t go as planned. You need someone who is reliable. Someone who is looking five years down the road. Someone who is determined to find solutions to the many challenges and obstacles that can and will pop up along the way. Someone who is dedicated to your vision and purpose. Someone who is invested in “seeing it through.” For your business venture to be successful long-term, your partner needs to have the same level of dedication as you as well as a growth mindset. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker