Finding the Right Partner for Your Business
Great partnerships are the stuff of legends. Bert and Ernie, Sonny and Cher, Thelma and Louise, Ben and Jerry. These dynamic duos complemented each other and made great teammates.
Choosing the right business partner is akin to choosing your spouse. You’ll want to find a business partner who complements, but not necessarily matches, your personality and management style. Your business partner should be strong where you are weak, and contribute to your business in a useful way. She should be able to run the business in your absence, and be trustworthy. Choosing the right business partner helps to avoid conflict, gain resources and profit your business.
Friends and Family. There are many pros and cons to hiring friends or family members to serve as business partners. Selecting a friend or family member can be a good method for finding the perfect partner because you already know their background, motivations and strengths. On the other hand, many people have a hard time separating the emotional and personal aspect of their relationship from their professional ones. This can cause undue stress and conflict in your business and affect your bottom line. When finding a business partner who is a friend or family member, tread lightly.
Complementary Skills. When deciding on a business partner, find one whose skills and strengths complement, but does not match yours. A person with strong administrative skills should seek out a partner with a knack for sales. A graphic design business not only needs a great graphic designer, but a great administrator to handle paperwork, invoices and other “business” aspects of the business. The majority of businesses fail because they are started by technicians and not business specialists. Imagine the problems that can crop up when two computer repair specialists run a business and neither of them have marketing, customer service or financial skills.
Complementary Personalities. While opposites may attract, this is only partially the case when running a business. If one person has a dominant personality and the other has a submissive personality, the business partnership may work well. However, both partners must be comfortable within these roles. When you’re starting a new business, you will spend a lot of time with your business partner. She must be someone that is trustworthy and easy to get along with. While it may seem like a good idea to hire a great financial manager with a horrible personality, this may not work on a long term basis if disagreements cannot be resolved.
The relationship you share with your business partner can mean the difference between a harmonious business environment and a nightmarish one. Knowing how to find a business partner that will make the best fit for your business is a skill that will pay off many times over in the course of your business.
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