Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Creating the Perfect Business Partnership

Although the original idea for your business might be all yours that doesn’t guarantee you won’t need a partner to get that business running and keep it afloat. A solid business partnership can actually increase the likelihood that your company will find success. That’s because you’re sharing the responsibilities and expanding your networking potential.

What makes a productive business partnership? Consider the following factors:

Set Your Goals

You should already have a business plan with a strong vision and measurable goals. When you go looking for a business partner you want someone who can share in your vision. You need to be honest about your own limitations. Are there some skill sets you need to develop for yourself? What can you learn from a business partner? Suppose you were opening a restaurant and had terrific chef but they didn’t know anything about desserts. Wouldn’t it make sense to hire a pastry chef? You want to find a business partner that can build upon your talents. They also have to be enthusiastic about your vision. You’re not looking for a “gun for hire” but a genuine partner.

Look Beyond Your Circle

As you begin your search for a great business partner, you’ll want to go beyond your immediate social circle. Yes, you might have a friend or family member who could fit the bill but don’t stop your search there. Go to where you might find the most qualified partner. There could be trade shows, industry events or conferences, where you will find like-minded individuals who would prove to be an asset to your company. The last thing you want to do is find a business partner who doesn’t have any experience in your industry.

Manage Expectations

After you’ve narrowed down your candidate list you’ll want to carefully detail the responsibilities for your new partner. Depending on the circumstances, a business partner could become an equal owner in the company because of the investments, skills or ideas that they are bringing to the table.

However, that doesn’t mean they can automatically dictate how things should be run. That should come from you as the controlling owner. Of course, you’re hiring a partner because you want the support so be open to any ideas they might have about management, marketing and production. If you’re both clear from the outset about what you expect from each other than there shouldn’t be any surprises down the road.

Make It Legal

Once agreed upon, all of those responsibilities should be put into the form of a legal contract. This contract should spell out things like compensation and termination of the partnership. Essentially you should cover all the bases. A handshake is a noble way to do business but won’t matter in a court of law if something goes wrong. As with every other aspect of your business, get it in writing and get it signed.