The process of finding a reliable business partner mirrors the process of finding your ideal spouse. It takes time to find someone who encompasses a similar passion, morale, and desire to grow a company as you do.
Would you marry the love of your life on your first date? Probably not. You know you need to get to know that person before committing to a lifelong relationship. And finding a reliable business partner works the same way. Just think of how much time you and your business partner will spend together—it’s basically like a marriage!
How can you check up on a potential business partner to ensure that they complement your business-related goals? Let’s take a look.
Scenario one: James walks into a pub. He meets John. James asks John about the business idea, tough employee scenarios, potential finance dilemmas, and some lighthearted personal questions to get to know him.
After the briefing, James feels good about John, so he hires him.
Scenario two: James walks into a pub and sits next to his former co-worker John. The two catch up on their old job, and talk about James’s business idea. James tells John that he’s interested in forming a business partnership with him.
The two continue to converse over time—they cover the topics mentioned in scenario one in detail as well as other pressing issues. Eventually, they sign an agreement.
What’s the best scenario? Scenario two! Here’s why:
James and John worked together in the past, so they know they can form a compatible relationship. They also know the working style of one another. On top of that, the two enjoy being around one another, which is essential. Just think of how much time you’ll spend with your business partner!
Perform a background check
Scenario one: Mary meets Sarah, they get along, and they believe in implementing similar core values and business goals. But Mary doesn’t know much about Sarah. She doesn’t know about her past, her personal life, or anything. Mary forms a business partnership despite her doubts. Only to find out later that Sarah’s using the business income for personal matters!
Scenario two: Mary meets Sarah, they get along, and they believe in implementing similar core values and business goals. But Mary doesn’t know much about Sarah. So she takes the time to perform an (online) background check. She discovers Sarah’s shocking criminal record! Mary doesn’t form a business partnership with Sarah.
Why is it important to check up on a business partner? Well, as scenario two points out, you never know what you’ll find out about your partner. They could have a dodgy, secretive past. Or previous business experiences that resulted in bankruptcy, and the list of terrors goes on. You need to research your business partner!
Don’t know how to do a background check? No problem. It’s simple, I promise. Here’s how:
You can easily perform a background check using Nuwber.com. All you need to do is type the name of your desired business partner, and Nuwber will reveal driving records, background reports, public records, court records, social media profiles, and more! It’s a safe, worthwhile (online) background check tool.
Hesitant? Just ask yourself:
Do I want to work with a notorious money-stealing criminal? No. No, you don’t.
Reach out to old employees and employers
Scenario: Susie forms a business partnership with Harry, but after working together—successfully, I might add—for some time, Harry loses his desire to help the company grow. Susie can tell he’s bored with his job and wants to try something new!
What happened? Well, Susie failed to research Harry’s resume before forming a partnership. How can you avoid this scenario? Reach out to old employees and employees. Ask about your desired candidate’s work ethic, job performance, and work style. The resume will also show if they enjoy hopping from job to job or if they have large gaps between positions.
You can also look at LinkedIn or their social media profiles for information about their past work experience. Don’t know how to find their profiles? Don’t be afraid to use Nuwber.com! Plus, you never know what will pop up if you type “Harry Carrotface resume” into Google or DuckDuckGo.
Find someone with different talents
Scenario: Bart, Jane, and Sam start a content writing business. They all know how to write really well! But they have little business and marketing experience.
The moral of the story? Please excuse the cliché:
Don’t put your eggs into one basket.
That’s right! You can’t start a business with just one talent. You need to find a business partner that complements your capabilities. If you aren’t smart with money, but you have a creative idea, find someone with financial knowledge. If you have no clue how to market your product, form a partnership with someone who does.
Plot your exit strategy
Scenario: Kate and Don want to move on from their current cheese-selling business. They feel like they can create something different! But Kate wants to go the Merger & Acquisition route, while Don wants to sell it to a nice lady down the road. They continue to argue, and they can’t stand to be around one another.
What should they have done? When you start a business, it’s important to develop your exit strategy. Don’t want to think about your exciting new start-up coming to an end? Think again.
Martin Zwilling, a guest writer for Entrepreneur.com, confirms why it’s essential to think of an exit strategy:
“Actually, the best reason for an exit strategy is to plan how to optimize a good situation, rather than get out of a bad one.”
You need to agree on an exit strategy with your potential business partner! Here are some strategies you can discuss—as pointed out by Zwilling:
- Sell to an interested individual
- Merge with a company
- Let a company buy you out
- Find someone to run the business while you formulate your next business plan
Don’t forget to keep your potential investors in mind when developing your exit plan!
Some questions to consider
It never hurts to do as much research as possible when it comes to finding a reliable business partner! Here are some conversation points and necessary actions to consider performing before committing to a business partnership:
- Do you have the same business goals?
- Are they as passionate about your business idea as you are?
- What are your candidate’s core values?
- What is their financial situation?
- How much time are they willing to commit to the company?
- What happens if you don’t have enough money to support the business? Do you each contribute an equal amount of money from your personal accounts?
- Where do they want the business to be in one year, three years, five years?
- What do they think about taking personal leave for mental or physical health issues or family-related problems?
- Have they had any brushes with the law?
- Have they had problems with bankruptcy?
- Do they have a history of being flaky with jobs?
- What do their past employees and employers have to say them?
- Do they believe in spending a healthy amount of time with their family?
- How are their time management skills?
- Do their skills complement yours?
- Do they stress easily? Lash out?
And the list could go on and on! How can you find these answers? Perform an (online) background check, seek out statements from past employees and employers, and don’t be afraid to ask pressing questions when you discuss matters in person. It’s totally okay to discuss business over drinks, at a restaurant, or in a relaxed environment, too. Keep in mind that their answers may be more stiff or robotic in an office-like setting!
To sum it up…
It’s essential to check up on a business partner before committing to a long-term business relationship! Remember:
A business relationship works like a marriage. You’re bound together by contract—make sure you create a contract and don’t just handshake your business deal—so you need to know everything you can before you start a crazy business journey together!