There’s an old saying, “You lift me, and I’ll lift thee; thus, we both ascend together.” This kind of mentality carries true in selecting a business partner. Whether you have had a partner from the beginning or joined with one later because your company grew too large for you to manage, a business partner can have a significant impact on your company and your bottom line. Your relationship with this person can determine both of your futures, so it is crucial to choose your partner carefully.
If you look at some of the most successful business partnerships, Bill Gates and Paul Allen at Microsoft being just one example, you’ll notice that they frequently share very similar qualities. Both partners trust and respect each other’s business savvy and decision making. Their varied strengths and abilities perfectly complement one another, and they stand united on the major aspects of running their business.
The following are essential for selecting and maintaining a successful business partnership:
- Maintain balanced responsibilities: One key factor in choosing a business partner is the balance of duties. Sometimes you need to get out of your own way. Regardless of who is the senior partner, both partners must have equal stakes within the business. Unequal distribution of responsibility can breed resentment.
- Utilize your varied strengths: When considering a business partner, be mindful of your strengths as well as the strengths of potential candidates. Try to avoid partners who have the same abilities and skillsets as you do. This could create competitive feelings between the two of you, but it could also prevent well-rounded decision making. Partners should complement each other instead of competing with one another. If the partners have strengths in different areas, it can be easier to work together because one partner’s strength can help even out another partner’s weakness.
- Manage your money together: Similar to its effect on social relationships, money can cause conflict within business relationships if not well-discussed. Agree right from the start how you will raise funds for the business and how the profits will be distributed. Write everything down on paper, and avoid “gentlemen’s agreements” at all costs.
- Communicate and compromise: One essential part of effective leadership is proper communication as well as appropriate levels of compromise. Make sure that you are counseling together before, during, and after making major business decisions. Know when it is appropriate to give and take, but be sure that each party is compromising in equal amounts.
- Trust each other: Time and time again, we see the most successful business partnerships running on mutual trust and respect. If either of the two is absent, there is little chance for the partnership to last. Each partner must respect the other’s decisions, and they both need to stand unified in the company goals. When selecting a business partner, make sure that person is someone that you trust implicitly. Remember, this person could either lead you to wealth and prosperity or bankruptcy and despair.
Selecting a business partner is not something that should be done lightly. Seriously consider each candidate’s pros and cons. Ask yourself if you’re willing to entrust your livelihood and well-being to this person. Ponder on each of the above suggestions while making your decision, and you’ll be in a good place to make your final selection.