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Top 10 Qualities to Look for in a Business Partner

Picking the right business partner is crucial. If you choose the wrong person, your company could fail before it’s had a chance to take off. On the other hand, if you can find someone who’s experienced and who shares your values and goals, there’s no telling what you two can achieve. Check out 10 qualities to look for when searching for a business partner.

1. Passion 

Ideally, the person you decide to partner with should be just as passionate about your business as you are. Your company might not survive if your partner isn’t willing to work hard or do whatever it takes to meet the goals you set. There’s no point in hiring a partner who isn’t going to pull his or her weight and commit to making the business one of their top priorities.

2. Reliability

Even if the folks you’re interviewing seem enthusiastic about becoming your right-hand man or woman, it’s best to choose someone you can depend on. A job candidate whose resume seems scattered or who hasn’t spent a full year at a single company might not be able to commit to being your business partner.

It’s important to look out for any red flags that might indicate that the person sitting in front of you can’t be trusted to help you lead and run your company.

3. Compatibility

Top 10 Qualities to Look for in a Business Partner

When hunting for a business partner, it’s tempting to select someone who has the same interests and hobbies that you have. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it might be wise to find a partner who’s everything you’re not. You might be able to accomplish a lot more by picking someone who has the skills that you lack over someone you have a lot in common with.

4. The Ability to Build Strong Relationships

If you want to scale your business, you’ll need to have access to an extensive network of potential clients, investors and industry influencers. If your own social or professional circle is smaller than you would like it to be, finding a business partner who’s well-connected could be a smart move.

5. Fiscal Responsibility

Regardless of whether you’re opening a bakery or launching an online retailer like Etsy, it helps to know a thing or two about finance. Depending on your business needs, you might not need to find a partner who’s an accounting whiz (especially if you’re planning on hiring one later on). But at the very least, it’s best to choose a sidekick who knows how to manage money and hasn’t landed in any serious financial trouble in the past.

6. Creativity

The most successful businessmen and women are innovators. A good business partner is going to be someone who can consistently come up with original and fresh ideas. In order to differentiate your company from the others in your industry, you’ll need to find someone who can help you create a brand with a distinct image.

7. Open-Mindedness

Another quality that can be great to look for in a business partner is the ability to keep an open mind. Collaborating with someone who isn’t receptive to different ideas or perspectives could be difficult. In the worst case scenario, it could prevent your business from reaching its full potential.

8. Comfort With Risk

Top 10 Qualities to Look for in a Business Partner

If you’re looking for a business partner, you might need to find someone with a high tolerance for risk. You’ll probably come across situations where you’ll have to go out on a limb or make an investment without knowing how things will turn out. If your partner prefers to play it safe, you could miss out on certain opportunities or falter in the face of a challenge.

At the same time, you might not want to hire someone who always makes major decisions impulsively. As you think about what the perfect partner looks like, it’s a good idea to consider finding someone who can strike a balance between taking risks and being cautious.

9. The Ability to Resolve Conflicts

You and your business partner aren’t always going to see eye to eye. Conflicts are inevitable when you’re working long hours with the same person. But someone who holds grudges or seeks revenge when they don’t get their way could become more of a liability than an asset.

10. Resilience

As a business owner, you can expect to experience some setbacks. You’ll make mistakes as you go along and you might fail many times before you find solutions that work. But you’ll need to be able to roll with the punches if you want your business to go anywhere.

That’s why it’s so important to find a resilient business partner who can motivate you when you’re feeling disheartened. Someone who’s going to quit when the going gets tough won’t do you or your company any good.

The Takeaway

A business partner can make or break a startup. If you’ve decided that you need a partner in order to turn your new business into a successful company, it’s a good idea to find someone who compliments the skills you already have and knows how to bounce back from adversity.

Financial Tips for Starting Your Own Business

  • Sit down with a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you create a plan for your business’ future and provide guidance on areas including tax planning, risk management and employee benefits programs. A matching tool like SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor makes it easier to find a person to work with to meet your needs. First you’ll answer a series of questions about your situation and goals. Then the program will narrow down your options from thousands of advisors to up to three registered investment advisors who suit your needs. You can then read their profiles to learn more about them, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future. This allows you to find a good fit while the program does much of the hard work for you.
  • Don’t neglect your personal finances. Though it might be tempted to devote all of your financial resources towards building your business, it’s important to continue planning for retirement and working towards your other financial goals.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/sturti, ©iStock.com/demaerre, ©iStock.com/DNY59

Amanda Dixon Amanda Dixon is a personal finance writer and editor with an expertise in taxes and banking. She studied journalism and sociology at the University of Georgia. Her work has been featured in Business Insider, AOL, Bankrate, The Huffington Post, Fox Business News, Mashable and CBS News. Born and raised in metro Atlanta, Amanda currently lives in Brooklyn.
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