Going into a business partnership is not a decision which should be taken lightly. Starting any business will involve investing large amounts of your money. If you do decide to get a business partner, it can either make your business a roaring success, or drag it down. When selecting your partner, there are a number of things you must take into consideration. It is tempting to start businesses with people you are friends with or are related to, but this won’t always be the best choice for your success. Here are some traits you should definitely avoid in a business partner.
There are a number of symptoms hinting that someone suffers from being a poor communicator. Here are some questions to ask yourself about them: In disagreements, how do they behave? Do they get hot-headed and abusive? Do they go quiet and passive-aggressive? Do they indeed refuse to discuss it at all and attempt to sweep it all under the rug? Any of these reactions is not only frustrating, but also bad for business. If your partner cannot give or receive feedback in a healthy and constructive way, you will find that necessities are neglected, processes are never optimised and clients may even feel uncomfortable.
Dishonest about small things
This red flag is a slightly subtle one. It does follow however that if someone is willing to lie about small things (such as: their achievements, people they know, their possessions, how much money they have) they will be more likely to keep some larger skeletons in the closet. Part of communicating effectively and running a business with someone is knowing that you can trust each other. If you see that your potential partner often spins the truth, take that as a sign that there may be more they are hiding from you.
Your skills do not seem to complement each other
Having different skills from a business partner is actually key to running the company effectively. If you are a creative and your partner is a tech whiz: brilliant! However, there needs to be balance in terms of your skills: If your partner does not have particular talent for things where you may need help, but only has skills in parts of the business that are merely auxiliary, you may wish to reconsider going into business with this person.
Your values clash
It is okay to have a differing set of morals or political beliefs to your partner, if they do not have a negative impact on the way you communicate with each other. What cannot be compromised on effectively is your values surrounding your approaches to finances and types of work you do. If one of you has a more liberal attitude to expenses and spending than the other, this will cause great problems in your business. Likewise, if one of of you wants to do pro bono work to gain experience and the other wishes to jump straight into making money as soon as possible, these differing approaches will prevent much productive work from occurring,Before going into business with someone, it is important to discuss these values and decide whether you are right for each other,
They won’t sign a partnership agreement
Having your expectations of each other in writing is another non-compromisable aspect of starting a business together. It means that if any questions arise surrounding responsibilities, money and decisions, there will be a concrete answer to those questions. If your potential partner seems lackadaisical about this side of matters, and is saying that they want to work together on a basis of trust only, they are not to be trusted and you should reconsider your partnership with them.
All in all, the most important thing with a business partner is the ability to work together effectively, If you find someone who is trustworthy, communicates well and complements what you have to offer the business, then they will most likely be a strong choice. However, try not to rush into anything too fast with anybody, and make sure you know the “bad news” before looking through rose-tinted glasses.
If you need any help on starting a new business, whether with a business partner or alone, check out our free handy e-book on “How to kickstart a new business”.