If you opened a startup today, you’d have a 49% chance of seeing it live past its 5th birthday. Depending on whether you’re a glass half full or a glass half empty sort of person, those odds might excite you.
Still, at a 49% success rate, you want to do everything that you can to at least incrementally improve your chances of success. In our opinion, one of the best ways to do exactly that is by finding a business partner.
A business partner is somebody that takes co-ownership of your company. They’ll combine their talent, network, and bandwidth with yours to double your organization’s chances of going all the way.
If you’ve always been fascinated by the idea of partnering with somebody but weren’t sure how to find a business partner that would truly complement your sensibilities, below, we give you some advice that can get you on the right track.
Where to Find Potential Business Partners
The first how to find a business partner step that you’re going to want to take is coming up with a short-list of candidates. Finding a short-list of potential partners can be difficult depending on your network but if you look in the right places, you can definitely drum up potential leads.
Here are some suggestions on where you might be able to dig up candidates to co-run your business:
Your Past Co-Worker Pool
Nothing tells you more about a person’s work ethic than actually having worked with them. Because of that, the first place that we recommend you look during your business partner search is in your old co-worker pools.
If you think hard enough, we’re sure that you’ll come up with somebody that you loved working alongside who might love the prospect of stepping away from a 9 to 5 job to help launch a startup organization.
Get Active on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social network that specializes in connecting professionals. Since your end-goal is to locate the perfect professional to partner with, LinkedIn is literally built to help you achieve your aim.
LinkedIn has a great (albeit underutilized) feature called “groups”. In LinkedIn’s groups, you can find discussion boards where you can talk shop with professionals that are interested in the same things that you are.
We recommend finding discussion boards that have to do with your business’s niche and seeing if anyone jumps out at you as being partner material.
Assess Friends and Family Members
It’s a cardinal rule that you should never mix business with family. While we agree that partnering with the wrong family members can lead to disaster, we also feel that in order to be successful in business, you’ve got to break a few rules.
So, if you have a brother, sister, cousin, or best friend that you love being around and you’d be interested in working with, write their name down.
You might end up building on your already excellent personal relationship by adding a professional dynamic to the mix.
Go to Industry Mixers
Depending on where you live, there may be regular meet-ups that occur where professionals in your business’s niche get together to trade ideas. These meet-ups are particularly common in fields like real estate.
Run a quick search online to see if there are any professional organizations that conduct events that you might be interested in attending. If there are, sign up and start meeting people.
How to Determine If a Potential Partner Is the Right Partner
Once you’ve given potential partners some thought, your next step is assessing whether or not the people that you’re considering are actually going to be a good fit for you and for your business.
In our experience, the best way to vet potential candidacies is to ask yourself these 4 questions about them:
What’s Their Work Ethic Like?
There’s nothing more frustrating than having a business partner that you work 4 times harder than.
Be honest with yourself about how hard a potential partner is willing to work. Optimally, you’d want to bring on a person that will outwork you so you can stay inspired to keep pushing yourself.
How Do Their Skills Compliment Yours?
If you’re a marketing master, bringing on another marketing master as a business partner doesn’t add a whole lot of value to your company. Alternatively, if you were to bring on a partner that specializes in networking/strategic partnership building, you’d give your company a great opportunity to flourish.
What Are Your Potential Relationship Pitfalls?
If you were to get in a fight with your dad, would your business partner get upset at you? Probably not.
Unless your business partner is one of your siblings.
Assess potential pitfalls for you and your partner’s relationship. The less pitfalls that you foresee, the better chance that you’ll have of keeping things productive.
How Do Your Visions Align?
If you see your company being 100% digital-based and your partner wants to discover more information about warehouse conversion, that’s a big point of conflict. The same goes for competing ideas over what products to sell, customers to attract and more.
Ask your potential business partner where they see your company in 10 years. If their vision is vastly different from yours, you might want to consider other people.
Our Final Thoughts on How to Find a Business Partner
If you figure out how to find a business partner that can support you in achieving your goals, you’ll achieve those goals faster and add stability to your company.
Run with the tips that we’ve just laid out for you and use them to start hunting down potential partnerships. With a little bit of effort, you might be surprised by the brilliant people that you meet.
For more advice on how to go about life and business the smart way, check out more of the newest content on our blog!