How to Find the Right Business Partner for your Startup?
When I decided to start my own business venture I never gave a detailed thought on choosing the right business partner. I just felt the need of a Web Developer as I was an experienced Web Marketer myself to be my business partner. But as you know that in India it is quite difficult to start a business when you already have a decent job.
Parents are hard to convince when you decide to start your own business venture. But after some heated arguments and series of long conversations I finally got the green signal from my parents to go for it.
Right then the next task was to find the right business partner as most of the companies I used to follow then for inspiration had co-founders and it sounded cool to me. Still it was more about following the trend rather realizing the importance of having a business partner.
So after 2 long years of partnership with Pooja, my best friend and colleague at my previous job, I now realize how important it is to choose the right business partner when you start your new venture.
Why you need a Business partner?
Reduces work load
Mine was a startup without much investment. As I said earlier there was no detailed planning when I started my business. I just had few clients and my blog “ThePickDrop.com” to back us up. Initially when you start a new business venture which is not instantly making money, its hard to afford or hire talented people. Now if you have a business partner, in my case Pooja who happened to be a qualified content writer, most of the work was done without worrying about paying a high salary to an employee for the same.
Divide Roles and Move Ahead
Unlike a regular job as an employee, its becomes hard when you change the role to an employer. As an employee, you just need to manage only certain tasks assigned to you whereas as an employer or business owner you must look after each and every aspect that is related to your startup business. Thus, you need a business partner with whom you can divide the roles or tasks instead of worrying about every aspect of your business. It will also help you enhance your skills in certain tasks and make you more efficient.
Motivates You When Required
In the last 2 years of our business, we have seen so many ups and downs. We have been doing great at certain period but other times things didn’t go as planned. Having a business partner by your side, in my case that happens to be my best friend, helps you motivate each other to stay on top of things when time is not in your favor.
There’s Always Someone Who Listens Your Ideas or Concepts
You often need someone to share your cool ideas or effective tactics with and who can be better than your business partner to discuss your thoughts and strategies? Even when you are stuck at some point with nowhere to go, you can often take guidance from your partner who will help you brainstorm or freshen up with new ideas.
Helps Growing Network
Everyone has their own set of network. And to run a successful business such networks do come handy in the long run. Having a business partner with a good network is always a bonus as it multiplies your reach which can be helpful for the business.
Now that you know why you need a partner here are some things to you should know about finding the right one.
Things you must take care while finding the right business partner:
Business Partnership is like a Marriage
Yes! You read that right. Business partnership is like a marriage and as in a marriage you choose the right life partner, you need to choose the right one for your business as well. Also same as a marriage, in business too you’ll realize that things won’t be all perfect every time but you will often get into fights and arguments.
But not to worry at all. Its quite natural in business partnership too. And basically at the end of the day, fights are typically good because they will help you progress, become more passionate and move forward. Though during these fights one of you must be wise enough to make sure the clashes don’t go too far or for that matter get physical or filled with emotions. If one of you is logical then most of the fights get dissolved faster and both of you realize what to do next.
Business partnership must always be strong so don’t expect to break off a partnership just because things aren’t going well. The agenda of having a partner is after all solving those problems and come out strong together.
Don’t get obsessed and add too many partners
Next question you ask yourself is exactly what’s the ideal number of partners to have in a startup business. If you ask me, I would go with 2 (one of them being you of course). But then its not limited to that. You could have 3 and at times 4 but you must make sure that you’re not getting obsessed with having so many partners. There’s a famous phrase, “Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen” which suits perfectly at such scenario.
So include more partners only if its utmost necessary. But if you are including someone because of their skill, hire them instead of making them a partner.
Keep your eyes and mind open always
Now finding the right business partner is quite tough today. There’s no particular destination or spot to find an ideal partner so keep looking everywhere. If you have a brilliant idea of a startup then the best place you find an ideal partner is at startup events or networking meet ups.
Luckily, I found my business partner at my last workplace where we were colleagues.
In general a few good places to find partners are:
- Startup Events or Local networking meetups
- Industry events
- Friends and family
- Job (i.e. colleagues)
- College (if you are still in school)
Know the person before offering Business Partnership
Once you feel that you have find your ideal partner, don’t get ahead of yourself by trying to get into bed with them. But take some time and know the person well enough before you decide to make them your partner.
In fact you must also be in good terms with his or her family if they have one. In a partnership, many things affect the business apart from the business itself. Not only their respective spouse can affect your partnership but their parents and siblings could too. So before making any decision, know the person well enough.
In my case it took me an year to decide to start a business with my best friend. But the ideal time I believe is 5-6 months which is quite enough to know whether he/she can be an ideal business partner. And trust me even the same time will be required by the other person as well to know you better.
Be clear in your roles and responsibilities from the start
Now once you have found the ideal partner, its time to set the right expectations from each other. This is the most important step in any business partnership and must be followed from day 1.
In my case, I was always a very technically sound person and my analytical skills as well as strategical approach always works. On the other side, Pooja was excellent when it comes to finance and management. She is also best at doing thorough research so as to get the best out for the company.
One thing you must make sure is that your duties as a business partner doesn’t remain same all the time. Hence, its must to discuss the tactics and duties of each other on a regular basis, lets say every week or every month, whichever suits the better.
Remember you are not supervising each other. But this will help you both know what each person is doing and will allow you both to provide each other with any help when required.
Make it legal
Lastly when everything is on paper its time to seal the deal. Now if you have a great understanding between each other then you can do that with a handshake but I would recommend to do this with the help of a lawyer. 🙂
Making your partnership legal is very important for both the partners as well as the business. Make sure both of your names are correctly mentioned in the agreement with the shares of each are printed as decided.
If you don’t register your company you may face many problems in the future. And trust me initially you will find it easy but as the time passes by and the business starts flourishing things will start changing. Then you will realize that you should have registered a company with all the legal formalities.
It takes time to find an ideal business partner. Also if you are not lucky enough you may end up picking up a few bad ones along the way. Don’t get disheartened by this because that’s how life is and happens with the best of us.
Make sure you learn from the wrongs you did in your life. Always keep your head up and move forward. Lastly you surely need a good business partner for your business to flourish.