A good number of the people you meet will tell you about the similarity between a business partnership and a marriage. While I’m not saying that there isn’t a grain of truth in that comparison, the importance of a business partnership is of a different nature.
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Being an entrepreneur is in itself a challenge, and finding the right co-founder or business partner is one of the most crucial and difficult tasks out of the many. A startup needs the entrepreneur to multitask, and the role of an incoming co-founder entails sharing this load and responsibility. We hear more news about broken partnerships than sustained ones. This sheer fact proves that there must be something somewhere being overlooked. Entrepreneurs are either too hasty in taking decisions or too skeptical.
Before you take the decision to break bread with a new partner, think on whether you really need one; and if you do, make sure you have a mental image for this person in your head. Things sometimes look rosy on paper but turn out to be different. Do verify every important aspect before entering into the partnership.
Here are some points for you to consider-
Knowledge is power
Ability and compatibility go beyond the academic merit or number of degrees a person has. One who has relevant industry experience or a deep understanding of the tricks of the trade is the person you should seek.
Resonates the business idea and vision
Out of the many things you would want in your partner, this would probably be an indispensible factor. In everyday business, you and your partner would need to take decisions together to take the business forward. Make sure that he resonates your vision and matches your entrepreneurial spirit.
Complimentary skill set
A cycle can move ahead only because it is well balanced. The same goes for a business. The strengths and skills your partner brings in should be unique and should make running the business a smoother process.
Trust and credibility
Trust is the very foundation of any lasting human engagement. If you can’t trust the person, you have to think twice before having him onboard. You would probably want to spend a little more time with the person, getting to know him personally. This also gives you a chance to learn about his personal and business ethics. A well balanced person who brings with him trust and credibility will help you drive things in the right direction.
A person you choose to be your partner should very stable financially. You do not consider this factor to know whether or not he can bootstrap, but to know whether he can commit his time and effort religiously to the business. As a startup, resources are scarce, and a partner who has his attention divided is the last thing you want.
Healthy arguments and mutual respect
Pick a partner who can lead with you shoulder to shoulder. You don’t want to hire a follower who agrees with every point you put forward. Healthy arguments have often led to the formation of great businesses. While you wouldn’t want a follower, you also wouldn’t want ego clashes. Respect for each other’s contribution avoids sour experiences.
While it becomes extremely important to find the right partner, given the mammoth task of running a startup, do not forget to find a friend in your partner. It is inevitable that you come across rough patches and troubled times; however, if you make a friend out of your partner, you can sail through them with a smile on your face.
Choose a person who is good for your business and who has the temperament to lighten up things when the numbers seem gloomy.