Most entrepreneurs with any experience will tell you that finding a business partner isn’t easy.
So, when you’re a “nobody”, that can present some additional challenges. You’re probably not going to be able to partner up with someone more known than you are. At the very least, it’s not going to prove easy.
But working alone is hard, and having a partner can add a lot of perspective to your business. You can share in your tasks, keep each other motivated, leverage your connections, and pool your ideas together.
That’s a good thing, because sometimes your money-making ideas aren’t all that good.
So here are some steps you can follow to find the right partner.
Step #1: Begin Your Search
Everyone has to start somewhere, so even if you’re not sure where to begin, you just have to get started.
Even though you may have to do quite a bit of looking around, odds are you won’t have to go very far.
The reality of the situation is that the best candidates are right in your locality. Why? Because you’ll have a harder time communicating and working with someone who lives at a distance.
It is possible to find partners at various events, like local networking events or trade shows. If you’re still in school, you may be able to find someone at college or university. In addition to that, you could also talk to family and friends.
Now do keep in mind that friends and family members don’t always make for the best business partners. There are times when there’s a good fit, but just remember not to jump the gun with them.
If possible, find someone who is highly logical. Business partnership is a lot like marriage, and you may have arguments. If you can work things out without getting overly emotional, your partnership has a better chance of overcoming challenges along the way.
Step #2: Get To Know Your Prospects
So, you’ve met a bunch of people, and you’ve made a list of candidates. Now it’s time to really get to know your prospective partners.
However, you probably don’t have all the time in the world, and you can’t be sitting down with absolutely everybody.
If you haven’t narrowed down your list yet, that should come first. You need to spend your time on people that you think could be a good fit.
Also, if you aren’t sure whether or not you’ve actually found the right person yet, you need to go back to step one and continue your search.
But if you feel you’ve found a handful of worthy candidates, you need to “date” them for a while to get to know them and see if there’s chemistry there.
It’s also wise to get to know your prospective partner’s family. Since business partnership is a marriage of sorts, their family effectively becomes your family too. You have to make sure you can all get along and make things work.
Finally, don’t rush into anything. Really take the time to get to know your future partner. Six months is a good timeframe to aim for.
Step #3: Get Clear On Your Expectations
If you never voice your expectations, you are basically setting yourself up for resentment. You have to be honest and upfront with your partner, and help them to understand what you expect of them as well as yourself.
You need to be clear on responsibilities. What role will you play in your business, and what will your partner be in charge of?
If you want a partnership to work out, you can’t leave things to chance. You need to be able to help one another get back on track when you lose sight of your responsibilities and goals.
Also keep in mind that you and your partner’s duties can change over time. They won’t always remain the same. It would be wise to check in on a regular basis (preferably every week) to keep things in check.
This does help with accountability, but keep in mind that this isn’t about micromanaging. You don’t want to be on each other’s cases all the time.
But, there are times when you need to move out of the way to allow the other person to do their work, and there are also times when you need to support each other. Be flexible in your approach.
Step #4: Close The Deal
Once you’re certain you’ve found your perfect partner, it’s time to close the deal.
At this point, you should go through the proper legal channels to set your partnership in stone. This is a good opportunity to finalize all of the details, including who owns what percentage of the company. Both you and your partner will gain immense clarity from this process, which is foundational to a strong, long-lasting partnership.
Finding A Partner As A “Nobody”
So, you can follow the previous four steps to solidify a partnership, but what about being a “nobody”? Here are some thoughts on how to bring powerful allies to the fold even if you aren’t established in the business world:
- Develop skills you know your partner is going to find complementary or even invaluable to the business. If you know someone that’s already in business and needs someone with a specific skill set, you could be the one to bring those skills to their aid.
- Bring something of value to the table. Maybe you have connections that could prove worthwhile to the business. Maybe there’s a large client that’s already interested in working with you. By bringing your assets to the partnership, you may be able to work with people that are a cut above you.
- Make valuable suggestions. Entrepreneurs tend to get tunnel-vision, and don’t always see the flaws or the opportunities in what they’re doing. If you can consistently bring valuable ideas to the attention of another business owner, they may even propose to you! James Altucher was known for doing this.
Finding potential business partners isn’t easy whether you’re known or not. You’ll probably pick a few duds along the way, no matter how good of a screening process you have.
It’s pretty much like anything else in business; you’ll probably make a few mistakes along the way. However, if you’re serious about finding a partner, then don’t give up. Keep trying until you find the right person.
There are a lot of benefits that can come from partnership, so keep your end goal in mind as you continue your search.