A business partnership is not just a partnership -it’s a relationship. As with any relationship, there is a honeymoon phase. Many people get too swept up in the good feelings of a seemingly good connection to really dig deep and investigate what is happening below the surface. Don’t get locked into a business partnership before really, truly knowing that they are absolutely a good fit for you. Why? Because, unfortunately, the crazy always comes out.
You may think that knowing someone in a professional sense is the best way to investigate if they’ll be the right fit for you as a business partner. The truth is that most business partnerships fall apart for far more personal reasons. You’ll need to know someone intimately before engaging with them on this level. There is a reason that 80% of business relationships fail.
[I]t’s important as a savvy entrepreneur to not be fooled by first (or second) impressions, and take the time to get to know somebody before entering into a business partnership. This isn’t because people lie — though some do — but because everybody wants to put their best foot forward, especially in the beginning. […]
Do they seem overly emotional?
Do they blame others for where they are in life?
Do they try to control every aspect your interactions?
Are they obsessed with profits over creating a sustainable business?
Don’t blind yourself to future business partner red flags by hoping upon hope that a venture will work out […] It will save you time, and a whole lot of money, in the long run.
Just because you like someone, doesn’t mean that they are going to be a good fit for you and your business long term. You need to avoid toxic partnerships at all costs, because will eventually show their true colors. You want to know what those colors will be when push comes to shove.
You’re looking for someone who can truly complement your strengths and your weaknesses. As with any relationship, you want someone who brings value – but you also need to be someone who is valued in the relationship as well. If your potential business partner is a huge asset to you, but almost has so much expertise that they’re running things and doing you a favor, this isn’t going to work out. On the other side, if you are pulling all the weight and carrying all of the expertise and you’re just bringing someone in for other benefits, resentment will start to build.
Values, goals and vision also need to align. It’s okay to find someone who thinks differently than you. You aren’t looking for a clone. However, you do still need someone at the end of the day who shares your vision and your values for achieving this vision. Small differences become big sticking points as time goes on. If someone doesn’t share your vision or respect your values now, that’s only going to get worse over time as the comfort of familiarity sets in. The same applies to the energy and time you are willing to put into your business and business relationship. What are you willing to contribute time, energy and work load wise? What is your partner willing to contribute? Is it equal? If not, why are you still considering this person?
The most important thing to remember when entering into a business relationship is that you have to open your eyes. Ignorance is not bliss. Small problems become huge problems. Turning your head to red flags now for the comfort of having an easy partner is a recipe for disaster. Red flags don’t translate to an easy companion. If someone is going to turn out to be a crazy partner, there are probably signs that you can find now. Don’t ignore them.
What factors do you consider before jumping into a business relationship? What are the list of deal breakers? Comment below!