If you're looking to learn how to find a business partner it's hard to know where to start. Although there are several professional matchmaking sites that exist it's actually a much better idea to start your search closer to home. From planning to reaching out to testing the relationship and sealing the deal, below are the six key stages to help you in the business partner search. Best of luck.
How to find a business partner
Present your plan
Ensuring you have a solid business plan in place is the first step to discovering how to find a business partner. Write down your ideas and be honest about where you are in the development stage. If you want to find business partners who can help with the ideas process, state this clearly in your search for a candidate.
Once you've taken your business plan as far as you can go it's time to assess what you want from a business partner. Think about your strengths and weaknesses, and who you've worked well with in the past. What skills do you need to help run your business and what do you already have? Make a wish list of skills, expertise and personality traits before you begin your business partner search.
Also, make sure your online presence is up to date and presents you in the best possible light. Although you might be thinking only about your business partner search, they'll also be just as keen to find out more about you both on a professional and personal level.
Conversely, if you don't appear on any high ranking search engine results pages, see if you can link to pages and websites that do. Your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts should all feature links to your business website.
Reach out to contacts
If you want to know how to find a business partner, reach out to your peers. Find out who from your current contacts has a business partner and how did they get together in the first place. Reach out to entrepreneurs and business leaders that you've had some contact with in the past. Just a friendly email or message on LinkedIn can go a long way.
Once you've exhausted your current contact list, it's time to reach out to entrepreneurs and leaders within business communities that you haven't contacted before. Again, it really doesn't harm to ask someone how they went about their own business partner search. Also, you don't only have to find business partners online. Don't give up on word of mouth, just yet.
Do your research
Once you have a selection of potential candidates it's time to research their backgrounds to see if they're right for you. Check out their online presence. Ask for more information on similar projects that they may have been involved with in the past.
Read over their CV or maybe ask a few questions via email so you can get a feel for how they communicate and how they respond. Get in touch with former employers and ask for professional and personal endorsements.
Meet potential candidates
Once you've thoroughly vetted your candidates it's time to meet them in the flesh or failing that, over Zoom or Skype. Write down a short list of questions and one or two potential situations that you might expect to find yourself in. You're not trying to trick the candidate, you're trying to ascertain how their mind works. Could they be someone that you could work with, every day?
Also, don't forget, you're just as much a part of the process as they are. Try to relax and have a conversation as you work out if your core business values are from the same page. You might not want to give too much away at this early stage but it doesn't harm to brain storm a few ideas.
If you have other members in your team, maybe introduce the partner to them and ask for their opinions. Often another person's professional and personal opinion can be very enlightening. Particularly if they're going to be working with each other just as much as with you.
Do your research and read business journals and online articles that have more information on how to interview a co-founder.
Put them to the test
Before you head straight onto a signed, sealed and delivered business relationship. You need to find out if your potential partnership works in practice first. Having a trial period or working on a smaller project is the best way for both of you to find out if this is going to be a success, long term.
If you have other projects on the go or if you're carrying out work for other companies, hire the candidate to see how they get on. Working on a different project to the one you originally have in mind might also unveil some hidden talents that you can utilise, or some character traits that you'd never have noticed at an interview.
Seal the deal
Once you've seen your business partner in action it's time to put pen to paper. Draft up an agreement that sets out the structure of the business and how you intend to work together and share profits. Make sure you include your joint targets, goals and responsibilities as well as the rights to intellectual property and what happens in the event of a dispute.
It's also important to properly stipulate what happens if the partner decides to leave. Like a prenuptial, sometimes it pays to set out in writing what happens if the worst comes to the worst.
Remember, just because you may have found 'the one', business relationships, just like personal relationships, still require a lot of work. Don't rest on your laurels. There are some great books out there about interacting with others, such as: Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards. As well as several online articles that will help you find out how to build a strong business partnership.
Your business starts with your business plan. Once this is in place then it's time to find a co-founder or partnership that works for you. Start your search close to home before broadening further afield. Also, make sure your online presence shows you're someone to do business with.
5th April 2021