Being an entrepreneur is a demanding job. From managing daily business operations and employees to securing funding, to promoting your brand, the tasks can seem endless for a single individual. In such circumstances, recruiting a business partner can be a game-changer.
A capable business partner can significantly reduce your risk and potentially contribute more to your business than you could alone. However, they can also present unique challenges. Before we delve into choosing the ideal business partner, let’s first examine the advantages and disadvantages of having one.
Benefits of a Business Partner
Multiple advantages can stem from having a business partner.
Firstly, a business partner provides additional manpower, allowing you to accomplish more. They can assist with various business tasks such as marketing, networking, research, sales pitches, and more. Thus, you don’t have to bear the burden of these tasks single-handedly.
Many entrepreneurs choose partners with complementary skill sets, enabling task distribution based on aptitudes and interests. For instance, if your business partner has engineering expertise and you shine in marketing, they could manage manufacturing operations while you focus on customer acquisition, thereby amplifying your chances of success.
Partners can also provide alternative viewpoints, mitigating tunnel vision. Their feedback can offer a more balanced and realistic perspective on issues at hand. They might even generate innovative business ideas or refine existing plans.
Having a business partner also improves accountability. Answering to them for any errors you commit can foster focus, discipline, and motivation. Additionally, they may bring more networking opportunities, expanding your list of clients, suppliers, investors, and mentors, and boosting your business’s credibility.
Lastly, your partner can offer moral support. During challenging times, they can be a stabilizing force, and also keep you grounded when you’re too consumed by emotions or overconfidence.
Drawbacks of a Business Partner
However, having a business partner can also have its downsides.
Mismatched work ethics can make collaboration difficult. If your partner consistently arrives late or misses deadlines, the working relationship could be strained. Alternatively, you might unknowingly partner with someone dishonest and unscrupulous, potentially damaging your business and reputation.
Choosing a partner lacking industry or work experience can negatively impact your business, possibly leading to inferior product or service quality and dissatisfied customers.
Business partners may disagree over short-term or long-term goals, leading to a stalemate that wastes resources and causes employee distress. If you feel your partner hasn’t contributed significantly, it can be hard to share profits. Lastly, a business partnership could strain personal relationships if disagreements occur.
Key Qualities of a Business Partner
When looking for a business partner, consider these traits:
Trust: Only partner with someone you trust implicitly. A dishonest partner can jeopardize your business and reputation.
Complementary Skills: Choose a partner with strengths that counterbalance your weaknesses. If you excel in finance but lack communication skills, consider someone skilled in interpersonal relationships.
Shared Vision: Your partner should align with your company’s vision to avoid disagreements over long-term goals.
Resources and Credibility: Partners should provide access to resources like business networks, industry connections, or financial assets. They should, at the very least, enhance your credibility.
Minimal Personal Baggage: Avoid individuals with ongoing personal crises, as they may not commit adequate time and effort to the business.
Respect: Choose a partner whom you respect professionally. Mutual respect is vital for a successful partnership.
Finding the Right Business Partner
Once you’ve identified your desired traits, you can start your search.
Consider current or former colleagues, who would be familiar with working with you. Alternatively, financial advisors or attorneys might know someone compatible with your working style and needs. Attending conferences, lectures, and trade shows can also connect you with potential partners.