The Art of Choosing a Business Partner


No man (or woman) is an island.  This holds true in the business world as much as any other area of life.  Having a vision of the business you want to create is a starting point to your endeavor but is it realistic to think you can make it happen all on your own? Of course not.

Two heads are better than one in business for many reasons. If you haven’t considered a business partner to move forward with your vision let’s look at why you should and the not so exacting art of finding a well matched mind to carrying your vision out successfully.

Risky Business

You have someone to share the risk.  A business partner shares the burden of financial and legal responsibilities among other things. This is when you want to consider if you both share similar values. Much like in a marriage if you’re not working from a place of shared values you will be working in different directions and the business will not keep moving in a continuous path of growth. You should have the confidence that your partner is going to have a similar response to virtually every business situation that will arise and handle it the way you would. You no longer have to be a control freak.  Knowing you can let go of the reigns is when you know you’ve found the right partner.

Core Values and Overlapping Capabilities

While your values should be shared, your abilities should not. Two different halves make a whole in business. Your skills and abilities should compliment one another giving you two or more ways to approach any situation coupled with shared goals and values, will achieve a similar outcome you both are happy with. Some overlapping abilities will give you common ground and keep you on the same playing field while one of you is the “outfielder” the other one plays infield.  The common ground is critical for you both to connect. A critical element for someone you will be spending such large volumes of time with.  You will also want to establish how disagreements will be settled when you don’t both agree. Even the best matched partners will encounter this. A business coach can be an impartial referee.

Ego or Ambition

Your entrepreneurial gut will come into play during this decision process and you have to begin to trust it. It will be making some decisions for you during your business career. You will want to learn if your potential partner is ego driven or if you both share the ambition to prioritize the success of your business over ego.  This isn’t something you will find on a resume, but rather during time together. Once you have a solid candidate consider a trip together perhaps to scout out potential competition in another city.  Travel gets you both out of your natural environment and circumstances come up that have to be decided upon jointly as co-travelers. See how well you sort out each decision, no matter how big or small. Observe what he/she notices, reacts to, treats others, etc.  All the nuances will help create a bigger picture for you to know if this is someone you want to be involved with longer term.