Getting into bed with the right partner
If you are married or in a long-term relationship you know how difficult it is finding a partner whose values and vision are aligned with yours, you know the hard work and effort it takes to keep that relationship moving forward. The same is to be said for a business, and sometimes it is easy to see why we choose the wrong partners.
If you are a business owner or thinking of starting a business, you more than anyone, are aware of the risks involved in the decisions that come with it. You have dedicated the time to achieving your dreams and choosing a partner that does not share the same passion or the same goals as you could result in failure for your business venture. Very few entrepreneurs will succeed on their first attempt in the business world and even less with their very first business partner. Here are a few options to consider when choosing a business partner for the first time.
1. Decide if you need a partner
Find out the reason you are looking for a partner, are you looking for financial assistance, management assistance or specific expertise into a new industry? Find out if you can solve any of these problems by either taking a course or maybe a business loan, we make bad decisions when we feel trapped in a corner, so do not let the fear of failure stop you from exploring different avenues.
2. Friends, family or colleagues?
Don’t go into business with friends or family. People tend to forget that family is there for as long as you are and if things turn out badly for the company, then Grandma’s 80th is going to be a bit awkward. The same can be said for friends if a partnership fails you will potentially lose not only the company but also a friendship. It is better to seek investors or partners that are either working in the industry you want to be in or share the same passion for your goal. Many mixers across South Africa bring like-minded businessmen and businesswomen together, maybe join a group and meet potential partners.
In some cases, you will find what you think is the ideal business partner only to watch them crack under pressure. You have to be sure the person you partner with will not run or break under the first obstacle you face; this is the most challenging trait of all to vet out. Find out about their history in business, why have they not gone into business alone? If your partner is unable to run a business on their own, it does not mean they would not make a great partner. Analyse their strengths and look for someone whose strengths are your weaknesses, this way you can learn and grow together within your business.
4. Alone time
The last question is, do you like this person? You will be spending a lot of time with your partner, and it is important to enjoy their company somewhat. Do not base your decision on whether you like them as a person or not but rather on a collective of who they are and if your values and goals are aligned. You will be able to work on getting to know them better at a later stage.
Keep in mind that a business partner is just as important as a life partner. You are permanently signing a contract into a lifetime agreement with this person, and some people do not see the importance of that. Losing a business partner can get just as messy as divorce, so before you sign up a partner ask yourself whether you are ready to spend the lifespan of your company on the partner and remember to wine and regularly dine to keep the interest alive.