What is the Criteria needed to qualify & test a Partner?
Attributes, Compatibility, Share Vision+, Dedication, Credibility, Connections, Expertise, No perceived Negatives & more
As an advisor to startups, I often get asked how to use Partneting to look for in an ideal co-founder or business partner. My first response is that it’s much like finding that ideal spouse, where chemistry, common interests & complementary communication skills are key. After some reflection, I now realize these attributes are necessary – but not sufficient – to be an ideal business partner.
Attributes of a great business partner, such as real experience & a big age difference, may actually be counter to ones you look for in a spouse. A great example was when Eric Schmidt, with years of experience at Sun MicroSystems & Novell, joined forces with Sergey Brin & Larry Page at Google. This was a Win-Win in business,
Compatibility. In either case, it pays to find someone that you trust & enjoy being with for most of your waking hours – even thru hard times. Otherwise, the relationship will be doomed to conflict, stress & misery. Believe me, life is too short to have that happen in business, or in a marriage. I recommend that you look for these additional traits to make a business partnership work:
1. Shared Vision, Culture & Values.
If your Vision is to change the world, don’t sign on with a partner whose primary drive is to get rich or other objectives. This also applies to how you both see quality, service, work ethic & employee relationships. If you cant get along, you may feel that your partners is working against you and you have to fight to get back on the track of your Vision. Do you need to do a new Partnering search?
2. Similar Dedication & Work Habits.
More than one startup team has been broken due to differences in work style – for example, if one person works on the business 10-16 hours a day, while the other has a 9-5 mentality. It’s very difficult to maintain a productive relationship when one person prefers texting or Emailing as communication, and the other prefers to communicate face-to-face.
3. Credibility, Visibility & Connections you need.
Most startups need investors, vendors, distributors & other industry support at different stages, to achieve aggressive customer growth & market penetration objectives. These may be partner values that can far exceed any budget you might allocate, or all the hard work you might contribute.
4. High Integrity & Commitment
In the last few years, the ethics & moral compass of a business have become more & more important to success or failure. In the world of instant communication, everyone knows if employees are not treated with respect, or if business practices are negatively affecting the ecology or economy.
5. Recognizes the need for Relationships.
Building a business is not for loners or autocrats, no matter how smart that person may be. Many of the entrepreneurs I meet, prefer to focus on the technology, so they desperately need a “people-oriented” partner for balance. Together they can attract employees, customers & even investors.
Every entrepreneur needs partners who are smarter than they are in complementary domains. For example, a technologist needs a strong finance person or a strong sales person who is willing and able to make decisions. You need to believe that you can learn from them, not manage them.
7. No perceived Negatives or Red flags to overcome
As a startup, your key team members’ image is your brand. Thus partnership decisions are much more critical then employee hiring decisions. Even if all initial interactions look positive, don’t forget the due diligence process, especially follow-up discussions with previous partners.
Conclusion: If you can find and attract a business partner or two that satisfy all these criteria, your company may likely be the next Google [LoL – Wiz4biz], no matter what the business idea is behind it. That’s how important the right Partner is to a new startup.
Comments: Anything you can add to Partnering to find an ideal match for you?
from Entrepreneur.com 07 July 15 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz