How to Find the Right Partner for Your Business?

Noam Wasserman, a professor at Harvard Business School who wrote the book The Founder’s Dilemma after studying almost 10,000 founders, says that a business partnership can lead to either triumphant glory or a terrible disaster.

Partners should bring different skills and talents to their businesses. This gives the business a sense of wholeness that no one partner could have reached on their own.

But the fact that you share a professional identity and know that your partner is important to your survival makes it much more likely that you will fight.

Many of the well-known companies of today were started by couples. And investors like to put their money into teams. Wasserman, on the other hand, says that 65% of high-potential startups fail because of disagreements between the co-founders.

The best teams are often made up of people who have worked together before. On the other hand, married couples, family members, and friends often hit a wall when their relationships blur and make it hard to talk about things that might hurt feelings or have a negative effect on their lives outside of work.

My study of how business partners work together was written up in my doctoral dissertation. During that process, I learned that many good partnerships have a few things in common. Here’s what you need to know about picking a partner to make it a step toward success.

1. Find Someone You Genuinely Enjoy, Like, and Trust

There is a continuum of trust. Mistrust is hard to get rid of and can ruin a relationship. Trust is earned over time. So if you feel like you can trust people more and more, you are on the right track.

2. Get an Entrepreneur’s Prenup

How to Find the Right Partner for Your Business

Even if you trust your new partner completely, it’s still a good idea to hire a lawyer to make a formal partnership agreement. Make sure it says how the money will be handled and when net profits will be split.

It should also say how people will be hired and what their roles and responsibilities are. Make sure you know the rules for leaving, buying out, dying, and getting divorced.

Money can put an end to a good partnership. Set up clear rules for how to handle money, such as how to pay vendors, get reimbursed, withdraw cash, etc.

If things go wrong and you need legal proof of what you agreed to, this document can help. If you decide to change the partnership agreement, you should write down what you agreed to.

3. Find Someone Who Shares Your Values

Most of the time, successful couples agree on what is good, bad, desirable, and not desirable. Their actions, decisions, and choices are all based on these values. Your values shape who you are as a person and as a worker, so they usually make you feel very strongly.

When partners’ values are the same (for example, they both care about family, wealth, ambition, hard work, or a certain political party), they are more likely to make decisions that are in line with each other and stay together.

4. Keep it Business

Unless you’re married to your business partner, your relationship will be better if you focus on business and keep your ego in check.

Don’t make decisions based on how you feel, and do think about what your partner thinks. Set up regular meetings to look over your financial statements. Be clear when you talk and give out information.

5. Don’t Be a Credit Hog

How to Find the Right Partner for Your Business

The team doesn’t have an “I” in it. When one partner wants to take credit for everything, it can hurt the relationship. If your partner has a great idea, give them a pat on the back and make sure they get the credit they deserve.

To make a dream come true, people must work together. If one of you takes charge of the relationship, the business partnership won’t last long.

6. Value a Good Partnership

Celebrate if you have a good business partner and the business does well. In this way, both will do well. Always make sure that the decisions you make are good for the business and not just for you.

Just like in any other relationship, it will take time and work on your part to build trust and keep the partnership in balance.

Know how much that partnership is worth and give in for the good of the partnership. Remember that this is no longer just your business. You have to remember that you share it with someone else in everything you do.

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