HOW TO CHOOSE A BUSINESS PARTNER

One of the best ways to start a business is to start with a partner or a group of partners. During the starting phase of any business, it is usually better to have two or more people on ground to manage and work on the business. It is quite hectic to run a business as a sole proprietor and much more hectic if the business is growing. Even though there are examples of businesses operating the sole proprietorship form of business, most of these businesses rarely grow enough to outlive their founders. Businesses that are built and operated by a single individual often find it difficult to scale up.

In business, collaboration makes it easy to leverage combined efforts and creativity. Most start-ups that thrive over time are products of more than on founders. The input from more than one person in any start-up gives variety to the culture and innovation of the business. Most investors, when looking at a business they hope to invest in, usually look out for businesses that have more than one founder because they assume that no one is an island. There is a limit to the amount of skills an individual can master. But, having a partner in business means each person can focus exclusively on the responsibilities at which they are most competent. This way, there is division of labour within the start up and the business would perform at higher efficiency. 

When you are looking towards getting a partner for your business, you have to pay attention to some key factors. The major factor being your own skillset and resources. The value of your partner is their ability to complement you by bringing skills and resources that you lack into the business. Let’s take a look at some things to do while seeking a partner for your business.

Assess Yourself

The First thing you should do when you want to choose a business partner is to access yourself. Check your skills and competences to see where your strengths lie. Once you understand the strengths that you bring to the business, you need to also weigh all the things that the needs of the business that you can’t supply: skills, financial and material resources. All the things you lack would translate into weakness for your business. One of the best steps to take when starting out is to find ways through which you can reduce the weaknesses of your business. And One way to achieve this is by getting a partner or partners to join your business.

One other aspect you need to assess when you are planning to bring in a business partner is your work style. Everyone has a style that’s unique to them. It is important that you check the style that’s convenient for you. By doing so, you will easily iron out the work style that you want from your partner. Equally, it is important that you assess your values, morals, ethics and biases. We all have things that we judge as good, acceptable and unacceptable. You must outline all your values and ethics before you approach your partner. Most relationship issues result from ethical differences. By spelling out your moral and ethical stands, you would make it easy for you and your partner to make smart decision about coming together.

Assess Your Partner

After you’ve weighed yourself, you need to make a list of everyone that is likely to become your partner. Most times, we become partners with people who are not even our friends or relatives. Thousands of strangers have gone into business together and ended up building successful businesses. However, it is important you access your partner.

Partnership is similar to marriage. Before going through with marriage, you will surely get to know them and everything about your spouse. It is also the same with marriage. You want to be sure that this kind of person fits into your long term plans and goals.

When you want to choose someone as your business partner, you should access their skills, their resources, their work ethics and work style etc. You must conduct detailed assessment on them and be sure that they will supply all the qualities and capabilities that you lack.  This way, it would be easy to build a very strong business with diverse competences and resources.

Reach An Agreement

Most founders make mistakes at this point. They go into business with mere handshake and words, believing that their business is built on friendship and trust. But, somewhere down the line, it becomes clear that one of the partners  puts in more effort than others. It is okay to build your business on friendship, but it would help if everyone involved in the business discuss the in and outs of the business operations. Responsibilities should be discussed and expectations should be clearly spelt out.

When issues partaining to running the business are not well spelt out, business partners would begin to make so much assumptions regarding responsibilities and leadership. Most of this assumptions make it difficult for partners to take initiative and drive the business. Issues surrounding ownership, equity,departure and profit sharing should be discussed and clarified

Documentation and Legal Procedures

Discussing and talking about the business is not sufficient. In order to preserve and sustain the business, there is a need for proper documentation and legal procedures. Doing this would not diminish the trust of the founding partners, it simply help the business to out live the partners.

Documentation and legal backing helps resolve dispute in situations where the business losses one of the partners or one partner leaves without due process. By keeping clear and detailed documents backed by legal procedures, it would be easy to resolve such issues.

Conclusion

Choosing your partner in business is a very sensitive step to take in any business and it should be handled with great caution. It is not enough to just hand-pick anyone to start out with. You need to follow due process that would ensure the success and sustainability of your business. The purpose of partnership is to create an avenue for collaboration and mutual growth. Therefore, appropriate steps must be taken in order to achieve this.