If you’ve got an amazing business idea but need a little help setting up, then partnering with someone who has some more experience or just some great ideas can be the best way to give you the head start you need.
Before you start searching for the perfect partner, you should think about what you’re going to bring to the relationship.
Do you have the ideas? Or will you bring a full contact book to the table? Or maybe you want to be the sales person, the face of the company and need someone to help you with the technical aspects of running a company. Whatever you’re good at, make sure you clearly outline the areas that you need filling in so you can easily find the right partner for you.
One of the best ways to find a business partner is by networking. Attending local business groups, or asking for introductions to potential business partners from your contacts is one of the best ways to get your name out there.
Your local Chamber of Commerce may also be able to help: they will have members who are experienced in running businesses, and often arrange events which you can attend and put the word out there about your business.
It’s also important at this stage to get some references from people you’ve worked with in the past, or those who can vouch for your business sense. That way, your potential partner won’t feel so wary about starting up business with you. Similarly, you should also check out their references.
Get to know them
A business partnership can almost be like a marriage, so make sure you get to know them before you make any commitments. Hang out with them outside the business environment and work out whether they will be the right fit for you.
Some people also may find that the best business partner is closest to home. Most recently, the BBC reported on several companies that were founded by best friends. Even though going into partnership with your friend may be a risk to your personal relationship, many of the partnerships mentioned in the article found that knowing each others strengths and weaknesses played to their advantage.
Alexis Meisen who founded New York-based ice cream company Blue Marble with her best friend offers some wise words of advice though: “No matter how much you love, trust and respect each other, I would urge friends to engage an attorney to put a very clear and comprehensive operating agreement in place. Even if things always go smoothly, it’s still smart to have the details of the partnership laid out in writing.”
Take a trial run
Once you’ve found your ideal business partner, it’s worth trying things out first. Don’t sign any long-term agreements: have a go at it for a few months before deciding whether this is a person you’d like to go into business with for the long term.
A pop up shop can be the ideal way to trial out your business idea. With short term commitments and a decent space to trial out your venture, it’s the perfect way to test the water with your new partner.