How to Know You've Found the Right Business Partner

Trying to grow a business on your own is a demanding task. From securing funding for your small business to hiring talent, it’s a lot of work for one individual. Even if you’re passionate about your work, you’re only human. You can’t do everything.

That’s why it’s often a good idea for aspiring entrepreneurs to find business partners. When you have extra help, turning your business idea into a reality becomes much easier.

That said, you need to ensure you’ve found the right partner. This may seem like a challenge if you’ve never started a business before.

It doesn’t have to be, though. To know whether you’ve found someone who’ll genuinely help you succeed, ask yourself if they have the following key traits.

Reliability

Your business partner needs to be someone who will consistently do their part. If they miss deadlines, overlook details, or generally aren’t available, your partnership isn’t going to be valuable.

How do you know that someone is reliable if you’ve never worked together before? Consider giving them a “homework” assignment before taking them on as a business partner. If they deliver this assignment on time (and deliver strong work), he or she may be the person you’re looking for.

Complementary Personality

Another reason to work with a business partner is simply to fill in any gaps in your skill set. For instance, launching a new business requires effective marketing. If you’re not a strong marketer, your business partner could fill that void.

This is an important point to keep in mind when considering who to work with. However, it’s also important to look for someone whose basic personality complements yours.

Perhaps you’re shy and introverted. This can make it difficult to attract clients. Thus, you and your business may benefit from working with someone who is more outgoing.

You might even consider asking potential business partners to complete a personality test. Many Fortune 500 companies use such tests to determine their employees’ key strengths.

A Willingness to Challenge You

It’s obviously crucial that you and your business partner get along. Too much friction in a relationship can prevent you from succeeding. That said, you don’t want a partner who is so diplomatic they aren’t willing to challenge you.

You’re not going to be enthusiastic about growing your business every single day. When inspiration just won’t strike, you need a business partner who will motivate you.

A business partner who challenges you can also unleash your creativity. If you keep approaching particular problems or tasks in the same way, your partner might challenge you to try new strategies.

Similar Goals

People start businesses for different reasons. Some want to turn small operations into major enterprises. Some are looking for a way to stay busy after retirement. Some just want a profitable hobby.

You need to make sure your business partner is on the same page as you when planning your goals. As your business grows, you want someone on your side who shares your vision. Remember, a business partnership needs to be mutually beneficial. The person you’re working with should have a desire to help the business continue growing. They’re more likely to if they have the same goals as you.

Similar Passion

Again, building a business can be challenging. You’re going to encounter roadblocks from time to time. When this happens, you and your partner’s drive will help you overcome those roadblocks.

As such, you also need a partner who can match your level of passion. Working together somewhat obsessively is key to your success.

Honesty

People make mistakes when starting businesses. It’s going to happen. When your partner makes a mistake, it’s important that they own up to it. Someone who isn’t honest about their weaknesses can’t be trusted to be honest in general. It’s simply difficult to communicate effectively when someone is too intimidated to even admit they made a mistake.

Of course, one of the best ways to make this type of partnership work is to be a good business partner. You’re not the only one who wants to succeed. By looking for these traits and embodying them yourself, you’re much more likely to.

Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing.