Finding your perfect match (in a business partner!)

Choosing a business partner

 

//Photo Taken By Christina Slaton//

As many of you know, I own a small consulting business where I work with other entrepreneurs and companies on online branding and content strategy. But something that people often don’t know right away is that I have a business partner and co-founder (I know, so chic). Her name is Mollie, and she is fabulous. She is also what I like to call: my perfect match.

I’ve meant to write about our partnership for a while. And while she’s probably mortified I dedicated an entire blog post to her, I don’t really care (perhaps not the smartest move seeing as Mollie is in charge of payroll, but hey, I’ll take my chances).

Because here’s the thing, finding the RIGHT business partner is SO important.

The truth is, I had never even considered partnering with someone until well…Mollie appeared in my life. After almost two years in business together, I can honestly say I’m grateful to not only have a partner, but to have HER as a partner. I must have been half crazy to think I was equipped enough to do this all on my own. Because in just our short time of being newbie business owners, we’ve grown a lot. And I attribute our successes primarily to the strong relationship we’ve fostered as business partners.

So what makes this partnership so magical? Well, beside us both being pretty badass and therefore unstoppable girl bosses, I think we initially set ourselves up for success because we followed a few very simple, very crucial rules.

Here are the rules to consider when choosing a business partner. Your “perfect business partner match” is someone who…

1. Excels in what you’re not naturally good at.

Basically find the Yin to your Yang. Mollie is organized and punctual. She also knows when to push back and understands project scope. These are qualities I appreciate mostly because they don’t come natural to me. Sticking to deadlines and staying organized are hard things for me to manage. I’m also a “Yes” person, and will basically work for free because I get so excited about something. Mollie will the be the person that says, “No Meredith, I’ll tell them we can’t do that unless they increase their budget.” 

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2. Shares your passion for the business.

Building something from nothing simply cannot happen without drive and passion for what you’re building. Don’t think you can convince someone to be as excited about your business as you are. A good business partner doesn’t need to be convinced, they will already be on the same page as you.

3. You can learn from.

You know the saying, “surround yourself with people smarter than you”? Because being challenged is like ripping a band aid off: I hurts so good. One of the best parts about having a business partner is having another brain to challenge you. A “yes man” is satisfying in the moment, but you will not grow.

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4. Isn’t afraid of commitment.

Like any successful relationships, a business partnership takes two people. Fact: You will disagree and you will at times be frustrated with one another. Which is why mutual commitment is essential. If you’re going in 50/50 on something, both “50’s” need to be all in for it to work. So don’t sign a contract with someone who’s just along for the ride.

5. Isn’t afraid to talk money money money.

It’s a well-known fact that some of the biggest issues in marriages have to do with finances. Business partnerships are no different. Find someone who you trust with your money, but are not afraid to approach about finance issues. This is sometimes where working with your best friend can get a little hairy. Mollie and I, while we respect one another immensely, we’re business partners and acquaintances first, friendship came later.

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6. Has your back.

At the end of the day, you need a business partner who will be the Goose to your Maverick. There may be times when I haven’t handled things in the best way, but I never have to worry about Mollie throwing me under the bus. THIS IS CRUCIAL, especially in front of clients. We will of course talk about issues in the privacy of our own Starbucks corner, but outwardly we maintain a united front.

 

One last thing to remember – every great *business partner* love story starts with a LinkedIn inMail. Read my post on how to become a connection making machine, and perhaps you’ll find your perfect match too! 

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