For anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit looking to team-up with a partner, picking the right one is to business what choosing the right spouse is to marriage!
And judging by the failure rate of both, possibly just as difficult!
After all business partners are going to be spending a great deal of time together, will be formulating strategy and will hopefully have similar views for where they see the venture now and into the future.
And, even if that is all true, a high percentage of them are still going to fail.
For full disclosure, I will admit that in past ventures I have worked with partners who I thought shared vision, similar strategic views and compatible work ethic when in reality nothing could have been farther from the truth.
So what are some of the traits for a partner to possess that will give the partnership the highest likelihood for succeeding going forward?
From an article at…
‘10 Key Traits of an Ideal Entrepreneur Partner‘
- Enjoy working with other people. You may be too independent to be partner material. If you find it hard to trust others, love to work alone, always have to be in control, or insist on micromanaging, you probably won’t find a partner who will satisfy you.
- Does not need to be managed. Good partners are people who are confident in their own abilities, and willing and able to make decisions, take responsibility for their actions, and able to provide leadership, rather than require leadership.
- Compatible work styles. Most entrepreneurs work long hours and weekends to get the job done. If you team with a partner who likes sleep until late morning, and reserves the weekend for other activities, the partnership will likely not work.
- Common vision and commitment. It doesn’t take long to sense someone’s real commitment, or vision and desired outcome of a joint project. Is your project seen by both as an end in itself, or a means to another end?
- Similar values and goals. If one of your core values is exceeding your customer expectations for quality and service, and your potential partner ascribes to the low cost, high profit mantra, a successful partnership is highly unlikely over the long-term.
- Level of integrity. High levels of integrity are important in business, but more important is your level of comfort with your partner’s integrity. This is a critical element of a good relationship, but a tough one. This is probably the best place to apply your “gut” feeling.
- Complementary skills. If both of you are experts at software development, even though one loves design and the other loves coding, that still won’t get the marketing done. Look at the big picture first of development, finance, and marketing/sales.
- Passion for what they do. The passion has to be in the business context – meaning results oriented, customer oriented, and sensitive to competition. In many cases, experts with academic or research credentials are not good partners for a business venture.
- Ethical and diversity boundaries. How the leaders of your company handle adherence to the spirit as well as the letter of the law will be seen by all employees, customers, and investors. Ethics and the view of personal boundaries should be explored fully.
- No historical baggage. Partner decisions are more important than hiring decisions. Thus you should do the same or more due diligence on educational background, previous work, and references. Look impartially from all angles and do the follow-up.
Written by Michael Haltman, President of New York.
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