As we’ve said before, you don’t have to go at business alone. You can bring in help in the form of employees, virtual receptionists, even a full-on partner. Here’s the thing about partnerships though— a lot of times they don’t work out, and they can end poorly, which will make things more difficult in the long run.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you conduct your search for a business partner in the right way, you’ll make the partnership a lot more likely to succeed, and accelerate your business as a result. If the partnership does eventually break, it can end amicably on fair terms that don’t hurt the business.
So, with this in mind, here are some tips for finding a partner for your business.
Listen to Season 1 of the Startup Podcast by Gimlet Media
The Startup Podcast by Gimlet media is a great listen for any entrepreneur. It takes you inside the day-to-day struggles of different startups.
Season one is perhaps the best one to listen to if you’re trying to find a partner. In it, the founder of Gimlet Media searches for his partner in the business. You get to hear the entire process – from the initial meet up to the moment where they divide up the equity of the business. That all goes down in episode #3 of season 1, which you can find here. Throughout the rest of the season, you see how the partners work together and progress.
It’s a great inside look at the triumphs and challenges of a business partnership.
Expand Your Network and Go Online
Meet other entrepreneurs, go to conferences, attend networking events, and add value to everybody you meet. The more you expand your network, the more you’ll come into contact with people you could potentially partner with down the road (or perhaps, even right now).
There are also a few online resources specifically meant for connecting you with business partners:
- One Start Co-Founder Hub: Instantly browse through a vast network of potential co-founders based on their skills.
- CoFounders Lab: This is a “matchmaking” site for entrepreneurs looking for cofounders.
Find A Business Partner Who Compliments Your Strengths
You can’t do it all for your business. And you’re not going to know how to do it all, either. That’s where a partner with complementary skills comes into play.
Let’s say, for example, you want to start an online store. You’re a whiz at marketing, and you also have plenty of experience setting up manufacturing deals with manufacturers in China. However, you don’t know a lick of code, and you know the online store will require a lot of intense development.
In this case, you might look for a partner who is an experienced coder and has dealt with online stores. This will cut down the initial cost of hiring a developer, and also give the coder more incentive because they’ll have equity in the business.
The lesson is this: find someone who adds new skills to the mix that negate your weaknesses and add value to the business.
Know Your Goals and Vision for the Business
Where do you ultimately want your business to go? For what do you want it to stand?
Keep your goals and vision in mind throughout your search. Aim to find partners who embody the values you want the business to hold, and are also excited about your vision for the company.
Work Together on Small Projects First (If Possible)
You won’t truly know how well you “mesh” with a potential partner until you work with them. And the best way to test that out is to work with them on some small projects first. That way, you can get a feel for the fit, and get an idea of whether this is somebody you actually could work with for the long-term.
Your Successful Business Partner is Waiting for You!
Finding the right partner can be a game-changer for your business. They can complement your strengths, increase the workload, help you make decisions, and balance your team.
But it’s important to conduct your search the right way so that you find the right partner. That way, you give the partnership the best chance of succeeding (instead of eventually going down in flames). Use these tips to help you with that search!