Business really can be fun and when you have the right partner, you can grow twice as fast! But are you ready to take on a business partner?
You have already decided you need a business partner (for whatever reason) but before you form any partnership, here are some key questions you should ask yourself and your potential partner. The answers can ensure that this will be a successful relationship that can genuinely move your business forward.
The quality of your questions determines the quality of your answers, dive in with these to reveal potential pitfalls, gaps in understanding, assumptions (wrong & right) made by both of you and reveal the opportunity for a winning collaboration in business.
1 What is your vision for the business?
It is essential that you and your potential business partner share the same vision for the business, and want to accomplish the same goals. If not, one of you will inevitably be disappointed by the results achieved. This is as much about a common vision as it is about how you’ll get there.
2 How do you think we should reach our vision? What strategies should be employ?
You can both share the same vision, much like a destination, but if you aren’t flying the same plane, so to speak, if you aren’t using the same strategies, tactics, tools, and resources, you are essentially flying different airlines and the partnership won’t be successful.
3 What is your exit strategy?
Every entrepreneurial partnership reaches a place at which either both partners want to sell, or one wants to buy out the other and continue. It is much better to entertain all options at the front end and craft a partnership agreement that addresses these options than to potentially tear the business apart without such an agreement up front.
4 What are the unique strengths, talents, and skills you bring to this partnership?
In business, while we may get along best with someone just like us, it is far smarter to work with those who have complementary strengths, to find a “yin” to our “yang.” This creates a better balanced partnership and can avoid duplicated efforts and power struggles. Make sure you aren’t considering partnering with someone just like you, but instead someone whose strengths are your weaknesses and your blindsides.
5 How do you handle crisis?
No business is every without crisis moments and you must know clearly how your potential partner will react under extreme pressure, deadlines, and with difficult clients. Success requires a level head, the ability to think quickly on your feet, and taking rapid strategic action. The alternative is someone who has meltdowns while your business falls apart.
Certainly, there are many additional questions that you’ll want to include when considering a business partner, but those shared here will prove to be an excellent way to get started and vet candidates before you dive into decisions around hiring family members and friends (or not), how you’ll divide the responsibilities, how you’ll track progress, and how you’ll handle compensation.
With the right business partner you have someone who has got your back, and you theirs, and you can enjoy the business adventure together instead of the frequent isolation many entrepreneurs face.