4 Tips for Choosing a Business Partner

Need help running your business? Here's how to vet your options.

By Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool

The decision to start your own business isn't one to be taken lightly, but once you get over that hurdle, you might face another challenge: finding the right person to partner up with.

There are several benefits to having a business partner. First, you'll have something to share the load with, thereby preventing a scenario where you're working all the time and having no personal life to show for. Having a partner can also make your business more successful, since you'll have added expertise to tap.

That said, choosing the ideal business partner is easier said than done. Here's how to land on the right person for your venture.

1. Find someone whose skills differ from yours

When seeking out a business partner, your first inclination might be to find someone whose background and education match yours. But if you go that route, you may not gain all that much in the end. Instead, it pays to find a partner whose skills actually don't mirror yours entirely. For example, if you have a business background, it might pay to find someone who worked in a more creative field. This way, your skills can complement one another's to increase your business's chances of being successful.

2. Find someone who's good at making decisions

The last thing you want to do is partner up with someone who doesn't have the guts or ability to pull the trigger when big decisions need to be made. Granted, you should both be prepared to consult with one another on high-stakes items, but you should also seek out someone who's able to commit to decisions rather than waste your time being wishy-washy.

3. Find someone reliable

If you can't count on your business partner, he or she will end up being of limited value to you. You might find a potential partner with incredible financial modeling skills, or an eye for marketing like you've never seen, but if that person can't be counted on to show up on time, stick to deadlines, or do the things he or she pledges to do, then you won't be doing yourself any favors by joining forces. Instead, make sure your partner is someone you can truly depend on, both in the regular course of business or in a crisis.

4. Find someone you can have fun with

Running a business is hard work, and it can certainly get stressful at times. That's why it's critical to find a partner you'll actually enjoy working with -- someone with a sense of humor and a positive outlook who will make even the most challenging situations not so bad. As you surely know, managing a business requires a major time commitment, so finding someone who can help make that work more pleasant is a definite must.

The right business partner could make a huge difference in your venture's success, as well as your personal satisfaction and happiness. Keep the above tips in mind when looking for a business partner, and with any luck, you'll land on just the right person for the job.


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Finance Magazine: 4 Tips for Choosing a Business Partner
4 Tips for Choosing a Business Partner
Need help running your business? Here's how to vet your options.
Finance Magazine
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