It’s NOT A Match! 7 Tips For Choosing The Right Business Partner

March 13, 2023

It is truly lonely at the top. 

As an entrepreneur, you must know how lonely and taxing it is to run your own business. Even the most seasoned business leader may not be able to predict all the ups and downs that they will have to overcome throughout their journey. 

That is why some business owners choose to start their business with a business partner. 

For a business to run smoothly, the owners need to fill out these 3 core roles: 

  • The domain expert: this is someone who has a deep understanding of their target customers and has a clear vision for the company.
  • The delivery person: this will be someone who can execute on the vision by building and delivering the product to the customers.
  • The money person: this is someone who will generate revenue, manage the cash flow, and make the business investible.

It's rare for one person to fill all three roles (although I believe many have tried). So, it is ideal for you to identify which role suits your strengths best and focus on that area while finding a co-founder who can help you fill the other roles. 

Still doubting whether you should have a business partner? Below are the advantages of having a co-founder for your business.

1. Sharing the responsibilities.

When you go into business with at least one other person, you will have less work to tackle by yourself since there are more people to support you. You can talk to your partner or partners about how to divide the work. Your business will be more efficient if you divide up the work and responsibilities.

2. Take advantage of more opportunities.

Having a partner will not only help you get more things done, but it also makes it easier and more flexible for you to take advantage of more business opportunities. 

You won’t need to worry about giving up potential benefits or business opportunities just because your energy and time are limited. If you have a partner who helps you with the work, you will have more time to look into other opportunities that can take your business to new heights.

3. You can spend less and save more.

With a business partner, you will be able to split the costs of running the business. This could save you more money than if you were to do it on your own. A potential partner can also help the business get more money through their network. 

They could try to get you investors and raise more money so your business can grow at a more accelerated pace. You will also be able to borrow money from your partner to help the business grow. 

4. Work-life balance.

By helping out with the work and tackling issues, a partner may also make things easier for your life in general. Having a partner means that you can take a break when you need one and take comfort in  knowing that someone you trust will be on top of things. You can spend more time with your family, socialize, or have a much-needed me-time. This can help preserve your physical, emotional, and mental well being.

5. Moral support.

Everyone needs to be able to talk about ideas and important issues with someone they can trust. There’s no denying that moral support is needed when things don't go as planned or when you have to deal with daunting challenges.

But support is also needed when you want to celebrate achievements and milestones with someone who has been there by your side right from the start. It can be lonely being a solopreneur, but having a trustworthy business partner can be just the thing that will keep you going when times are tough. They will also be the ones that make you appreciate your accomplishments and hard work throughout your entrepreneurial journey. 

6. New perspectives.

It's easy to miss things when we do everything by ourselves. When you work together with a partner, you can get a fresh set of eyes that can help you see things that you might have missed out on your own. 

A partner can give you fresh ideas, help break the status quo, and get you out of your comfort zone. This is something highly valuable that cannot be bought.

Disadvantages of Having a Business Partner

Aside from the benefits, you also need to be aware of the downsides of having a co-founder for your business.

1. Disagreements cannot be avoided.

As with any partnership, there will be disagreements. If the problem isn't too big, try to discuss it with them and come up with an agreement. If there are an odd number of partners, you can try putting up a vote on things which you don't agree on.

There is a chance that the partnership will end if a disagreement is too big to handle. Talk ahead of time about how you might end the relationship if you need to. This will help you avoid a messy breakup. 

2. Complex and longer decision-making process.

When you're in a business partnership, it's less likely that you can make important decisions without telling your partners or getting their approval. Your decisions would have a direct effect on your partners, your employees, and the business as a whole. So it is no wonder that your partners would like to have a say on important decisions. 

However, it will definitely make the decision-making process longer and more complex since there are more parties with differing opinions and interests involved. Taking more time for making decisions can make you and your business less agile compared to if you were a solopreneur. 

3. Splitting the money made.

Every partnership can decide how they want to split their profits, whether it be across the board or adjusted based on each partner’s workload. Some deals see each partner receiving equal portions  of all the money made by the partnership. But when more people join a partnership, each person's share of the profits gets smaller. 

Related read: Business Made Simple: Your Business Is An Airplane

7 things to Be Mindful of While Choosing a Business Partner

1. Ensure that your values and visions are aligned.

As an entrepreneur, your passion, vision, and values are at the heart of everything you do and every choice you make. So it's important that your co-founder cares just as much about the ultimate vision as you do, and that you share the same values. 

A co-founder is not like an employee who will do what you tell them to do. Instead, they share the power to set company values and embody these values in their actions — just like you do. So be sure that they are embodying the values that you want the company to have.

2. Look for complementary qualities.

Find a co-founder who shares your vision but also brings new strengths, such as a different way of thinking and coming up with ideas so that you can balance each other out. If you tend to be cautious, find someone who is more willing to take risks and try new things. Find a partner who is a people-person if you have the tendency to be more introverted.

Not only will the resulting balance be good for you, but it will also be good for your employees, vendors, and investors. Having a diverse founding team makes it easier for different kinds of people to connect with your startup. Some people will be drawn to you, while others will be more interested in your co-founder.

3. Bridge the knowledge and skills gap.

Just like qualities, you also need to find someone with the knowledge and skills that you don’t have in order to complement your strengths. This can help you grow your business.

For instance, you might be great at coming up with new ideas but not so good at selling them. You might know a lot about technology, but you might be a fish out of water when it comes to building relationships and running the business. This is where a partner with the right skills and experience can help fill in the gaps.

4. Try to partner up with those you already work well with.

It's important to work with someone you trust and enjoy being around. So you should start your search with people you already know and like. A long-term relationship can help you skip the learning curve of close collaboration, which can sometimes take years to develop.

Even so, it's important to remember that working with close friends or coworkers has its own risks. Even if you are close with someone at work, that doesn't mean you will be able to work well together as co-founders. When you have professional disagreements, it's possible that it might affect your personal relationship as well.

5. Try working together in a side job.

It's easier to judge someone when you're working together on something real. So try to do a chemistry test by working on a small project together. Watch how the person acts when they are under a lot of pressure. Can they stay focused and make good decisions when they're under a lot of stress? Do they try to solve conflicts with curiosity and empathy? 

When you face problems with someone, you often see their true colors and learn more about who they are. This is important for any co-founder relationship.

6. Promise to be completely honest.

The most important thing is to be able to talk openly with your co-founder. You should be able to talk to each other honestly about things that are hard to talk about, like money, failure at work, emotional stability, and so on. Each of you should know what the other person needs to hear. This means you need to find someone who won't be afraid to tell you the truth.

7. Listen to your gut.

Co-founder relationships that work well are based on trust and support from both sides. It is a must that you get along well with your partner and can count on them. 

So if alarm bells start to ring at any time, pay attention! This is a clear sign that you shouldn't be with that person. This doesn't mean that you should insist on perfection. Every co-founder has their own flaws and shortcomings. Just make sure that you can live with these things in the long run.

Starting a business from scratch is a Herculean task. It can be a stressful and lonely journey, which is why many founders decide to bring on a partner. If you want to start a business with someone else, don't rush and don't settle. 

The right co-founder can be the key to your business's long-term success, while the wrong person can kill your business before it even gets off the ground.

Need help in finding the right partner for your business? I can help! 

Get in touch with me and I can provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to grow and scale up your business. Using proven tools and methodology such as; Scaling Up, Mindvalley, Kolbe, CliftonStrengths, and many more, I can help you find the right business partner and realize your ultimate vision. 

Book a call with me today!

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