Running a business alone can be tough. Most entrepreneurs will agree that business is not a one- man show. The adage goes: two heads are better than one. Teaming up is a good option. The combination of skills and knowledge forms a potentially powerful business. But you should not just pair up with anyone. You have to look for the best business partner.
Here, I invite you to learn what you should look for in a business partner. Let us take a look at the insights of a digital entrepreneur, Tom Grasty. (Read full story here.)
Traits of best business partners:
1. Experience and knowledge
A business partner with extensive industry experience and knowledge is an asset. Getting a rookie will leave you groping in the dark, potentially killing your startup business. For this, I see no reason why you should limit your choices to someone who knows less than you do. Grasty notes:
“For many founders, however, bringing in someone who knows more than they do is problematic. It’s perceived as a threat. The reality is that it’s probably best if your partner actually does know more about certain things than you. You simply can’t know everything. But knowing as much as possible is only going to happen if you check your ego at the door and partner with someone who compliments — and preferably extends — your knowledge base.”
2. Complementary skills set
Complementary skills provide you the edge in the competition. Choose a partner who compensates your weakness and complements your strengths. Both of you can specialize in areas where you are good at, and if situation calls, you can make use of your expertise to address several costumer needs. Let me reiterate Grasty:
“If your core competency is on the technical side, then agree that you will take the lead on building the product. If your partner is better at presenting, let her handle the demos. Said another way, pick a partner who offsets your weaknesses with their strengths. But make sure your complimentary skills don’t pull you, and your company, into two different directions.”
Mutual respect is important. Conflict resolution becomes easier when respect abounds in the team. So how can you resolve disagreements before it kills your partnership? Take your partner’s point of view. What if an impassé happens? Grasty advises:
“Let whomever is the expert in the area in question cast the tie-breaking vote. And then respect their decision. The time will come when you’ll be asked to “make the call.” And when it does, you’ll want to know that your decision will be respected as well.”
4. Work ethics
“Getting your hands dirty is 99% of what you’re really doing on a day-to-day basis. As a result, you need someone who’s going to go out there and get into the trenches with you,” says Grasty.
Getting a partner with strong work ethics can bring your startup a long way. Get someone who shares your passion and vision. A partner with determination and ambition certainly is an asset.
5. Partner compatibility
Grasty writes: “Why is partner compatibility so important? Because when the business hits a pothole (and you will hit so many potholes, you will eventually lose count), you cannot simply fall back on the business. You have to fall back on your friendship. There are going to be days you hate your startup; you have to like your partner.”
Most will agree that the business world is strewn with uncertainties. In the same way, the startup phase is the toughest part of the business. You are more prone to burn outs and emotional exhaustion. Having a partner to cheer you up can be helpful. Furthermore, teaming up with someone you like to work with makes running a business easier.
Grasty suggests: “So when you set out to pick a business partner, pick someone you: 1) care about on a personal level; 2) respect on a professional level; and 3) know is going to get down in the trenches and do the dirty work with you on a day-to-day basis.”
What do you think of an ideal business partner? Share your ideas with us by writing in the comments below.