Picking the right business partner is paramount. If you choose the wrong person, your company could collapse before it’s had a chance to take off. On the other hand, if you can find someone who’s experienced and who shares your values and goals, there’s no telling what can be achieved. It doesn’t matter if you have the best business idea, if you have terrible business relationships, then your business cannot sustain and thrive. Toxic business partnerships can quickly collapse a company.
Developing strong and good business partnerships takes an understanding of people’s emotional needs and a commitment to developing trust. Here are four essential characteristics for a potential business partner:
Ideally, the person you decide to partner with should be just as passionate about your business as you are. Your company might not survive if your partner isn’t willing to put in the effort you are or put everything on the line to meet the goals you set. There’s no point in hiring a partner who isn’t going to pull his or her weight and commit to making the business their top priority. If you or your partner don’t have similar levels of passion about a business, it’s not easy to maintain a strong relationship and it will destroy the company. Having the same level of enthusiasm and passion over business ideas fuel ambition and creativity.
Even if the people you’re interviewing seem enthusiastic about becoming your right-hand man or woman, it’s best to choose someone you can rely on and trust. A candidate whose resume seems scattered or who hasn’t spent a full year at a single company is a red light and might not be able to commit to being your business partner. You and your business partners need to know that you have each other’s backs and can rely on each other no matter the circumstance. You and your partner must believe in each other’s talents, values and objectives. Supportive business partnerships sustain collaboration and help build the motivation required to work toward a common goal.
Trust will either make or break your relationships with business partners. If you have any reservations about your partners’ integrity — or they have reservations about yours — good decision making will break down and the company starts to fail. Another quality that can be great to look for in a business partner along with integrity is the ability to keep an open mind. Collaborating with someone who isn’t receptive to different ideas or perspectives could be prove difficult to work with. In the worst case scenario, it could completely destroy your business.
Finally, make sure you understand the commitment levels in a potential business partner. Strong business relationships does not require the business partners to invest equal amounts of time and energy to build a company. People have other commitments and duties that are also important to them. But it’s paramount to set expectations at the very beginning of business partnerships to cement what everyone’s individual commitment will be – otherwise, you could find yourself constantly fighting over work division and that is something to avoid. To settle disputes, a go way is to set the equity each partner gets proportionate to the commitment level of each partner.
Remember, investors will most likely care more about the strength of your business partnerships than the strength of your business ideas.