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What to Look for in a Business Partner

Finding the perfect business partner takes effort. You’ll want to choose someone who shares your vision and brings the right skills to the table. Here’s our guide to finding a long-term fit.

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Complementary skills

Are you good with numbers? You might want to seek out someone with a creative, visionary streak. Or maybe you’re a marketing whizz and the person you have in mind is a product design genius. While it might be tempting to stick to someone who is just like you, selecting a partner who can challenge your opinions and complement your skill set is a smarter move.

Shared values and attitude

Now that you’ve ticked off the skills box, it’s time to articulate your values. If creating a carbon neutral business or sourcing your products in an ethical manner are at the top of your list, you’ll want someone who shares those priorities. Motivation is also key. If you’ve ever had a gym buddy, you’ll know that having someone there to hold you accountable and cheer you on is one of the best ways to maintain focus and drive. Look for a partner who shares your goals and has the work ethic to make them happen.

Financial background

Before you get too swept up in planning, take an objective look at your potential partner’s financial history. How have his or her previous efforts gone? What other projects or businesses are still in play? Does this person have a track record of responsible decision-making? While many entrepreneurs take risks, you’ll want to do your research so you can feel secure that your partner won’t be a financial liability.

Industry knowledge

Does your potential partner know enough about the industry you’re in? It’s a good idea to find out. If you’re new to the field yourself, teaming up with a veteran can give you the upper hand and a greater understanding of your goals and potential. Working with an insider can help you plan now and make better day-to-day decisions down the road.

Location

Sometimes choosing a business partner comes down to cold, hard logistics. It’s best to work with someone who is either in your city or in another location where you do business. If you have a suit store in Toronto, for instance, it might make perfect sense to form a partnership with someone who lives in Hong Kong, where the suits are made.

Choosing the right person is a big decision. Before you commit, do your homework. And don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions.