Three Essential Qualities to Look For in a Business Partner

Three Essential Qualities to Look For in a Business Partner

Starting a business takes a lot of hard work and persistence and going it alone without a good partner or team behind you can make the journey even harder. You don't want to be an entrepreneur who burned out because no one had your back. Working closely with a partner or a team to build up your business, means you’ll be in it together, helping each other through the rough patches.

But picking the right business partner is a skill. Today a lot of entrepreneurs are forming instant business partnerships with people they have only briefly met at networking events, conferences, or even online. Many of these partnerships end up falling through.

Whenever you start a business you need to take a close look at the people you’re starting it with. Imagine you are picking a startup family. If you can't see yourself being married to these people over the next 3 to 5 years, then choose other people.

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Three Qualities to Want in a Business Partner

I know there are a lot of articles online that offer a list of qualities to look for in a business partner- things like being passionate, creative, organized, etc. But these articles are a little misleading. You are not looking for the perfect partner; no one is perfect. Instead, you need to be looking for people who you can work with.  

With that in mind, here are three key qualities to pay attention to:

1. They don't have to be like you. Don't just run towards those who have similar interests, hobbies, and skills as you do. In fact, it's better to choose a partner who can compliment your qualities, skills, and personality. No matter how broad your skill set, you’re not going to be an expert in every area of running your business. Having a different perspective will help you make better decisions and solve problems quicker and more efficiently.

On the other hand, though you and your partner may be different, keep in mind you still need to share enough in common to work together. Some of the most successful business partnerships such as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were exceptional for the way they combined their skills and personalities to create a dynamic duo.

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2. They should share your ideas. While a diversity of personality and background is good for a partnership, at the same time your partner as well as other executive members of your team, need to be passionate about and committed to the same mission. This will give them the motivation to hold themselves accountable and accomplish the tasks on hand even during the challenging times. Without this strong sense of shared purpose, your partner and key employees may just quit or not give their all to the business.  

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3. They need to be willing to give and take. This is as much for you as it is for your prospective business partner. When a person is passionate about a mission and deeply committed to making it succeed, it can be a challenge to give up control. On the other hand, you don't want to team up with a partner who's too passive, either. For a partnership to be successful, there needs to be a healthy balance that works for the people involved. Each partner as needed should be able to be able to voice his or her opinions and make contributions as well as respectfully receive the thoughts and contributions of others.

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Bottom line: Sometimes a good partnership will happen on its own, but many more times it won't. You owe it to yourself and your business to make the effort to find not just the best people but the right people for the job.