Starting a business is one thing, but diving headlong into the endeavor with someone else takes a certain amount of commitment and trust. It sounds a bit like choosing a life partner, and in a way, the process is very much the same. While someone you share your personal life with should be compatible to you and your temperaments and sensibilities, so should a business partner – in a professional sense, of course.
Choosing the wrong business partner can be just as disastrous, too. Even if you happen to be really great friends or close relatives, clashing ideas or modes of work ethic can compromise your initial goal. If you want to start a successful business and know that you will want someone there by your side, then there are some pointers you might want to consider before making a final decision.
Get to Know One Another
This may sound obvious, but it definitely helps to know the person that you are working with, at least somewhat. When getting to know another person, get to know them on a personal level, a friendly level first, and see where you two match up. This is really only necessary if you do not know the person too well, but it is still a necessary first step. But that’s not all…
Even if you are looking to start a business with a long-time friend or even a sibling, you should get to know them on a professional level, if you haven’t already. What are they like in a business environment? How well do they perform under pressure? How well can they keep it together when things go sideways? What sort of ideas do they come up with? Figuring out how a person operates professionally is crucial. Look at how they do their current job or how they treat waist staff and service employees. This sort of behavior will tell you how a person might act in a position of power where they will need to take initiative and make executive decisions. Can you see yourself working with this person? Does their behavior and way of thinking complement your own?
Actually Work Together
This can be done in conjunction with the previous step, especially if you do not have an opportunity to see how your potential business partner might conduct themselves in a business environment before actually working together. In order to do this without actually jumping the shark, there are two things you can do: brainstorm together and draft a business plan OR work together in a different capacity.
If you are looking to get a business idea off the ground, throwing around ideas and solving problems together can be a great way to see just how someone’s mind works. If you complement one another well, you might find this part of the process to be a breeze. If you two clash and can’t seem to agree on anything, then you know where you stand.
If you already have a business and are simply looking for a partner to share the load with, then you may want to consider one of your own employees, or hiring one if you work on your own. Even though this dynamic might work a little differently, it will still give you an idea of what it might be like to work with another person.
You don’t have to go anywhere fancy or far-off, simply going on a road trip or a day trip might do, but travelling is one of those things that can make or break a friendship or even a relationship. Travelling brings out a whole new side to people. Sometimes, long-time friends or couples never see it coming until they are put to the test and realize that they may not be as compatible with their partner as they initially thought. Seeing how well someone else reacts to new situations and how they handle themselves in different environments can help gauge how they might handle unexpected problems in the workplace and whether you two are on the same page when it comes to tackling obstacles, or even coming to a mutual agreement about where to grab lunch without hurting one another.
The key to any successful relationship is honesty. Communication is key, especially if you are trying to start a business where you will share responsibility as well as accountability. Being open and honest about your intentions and ideas can help you find the right business partner right away. Being upfront can help you weed out the good business partners from the bad, because your ideal partner will be just as honest and open as well. It is incredibly important that you trust your business partner and that they trust you, too, so being open about your business and about yourself from the very beginning is a wise thing to consider.
Friends get into business together all the time, only to find out that their skill sets and mindsets are not nearly as compatible as they are when they’re watching movies or playing ball. Someone you may be in love with and want to start a family with may not be the best business partner for you, but that’s okay. There are so many different kinds of relationships, and if you want to have a successful business then you will need to find the right person who will help you accomplish your goals. It may not be someone you know or it could even be someone you once thought you had nothing in common with. In order to properly start and run a business, you will need a person who complements your business skills and mindset.