In our adult lives there are two big life relationships that really matter—finding a partner in love and finding a partner in business. As Christina Wallace and Alex Nelson, the duo behind the fashion company Quincy point out in Forbes, picking a business partner is very similar to picking a potential life partner. Check out the steps for yourself.
Become Friends First: As with finding a lifetime partner in love, you wouldn’t marry the first person you meet or a person you’ve dated for one month. Get to know the person you hope to do business with before you take your business relationship to the next level. Put the same time and effort into it as you would a potential life partner. Find out how they respond to difficult situation and how they deal with stress. Their reactions to various situations in life will show you how they will similarly respond in business with you.
Next, look for ways to test the relationship, just as you would date a future mate. Before you get into the long term commitment of a company together, try to test the relationship out with a smaller business venture. For instance perhaps the two of you could do a bit of consulting work for a start up that would help you understand each other’s strategy.
Make sure that the two of you possess chemistry. You want to find someone whose skill set compliments yours. Although you hope to have the same interests and goals, partnering with someone who is good at communication when you’re good at communication leaves you with no one to handle the financial component or any other part of the business.
Lastly, talk it out. When you realize that this is someone you could see yourself doing business with long-term, begin to discuss a future partnership. Quincy partner Wallace relays that although the two came up with a business plan less than a year after they graduated from Harvard Business School, they made a plan to launch a business in five years. Both she and her partner were at two very different points in life—Nelson was off to London with her husband and Wallace was looking for a job. Both had too much student loan debt to even seriously consider a business venture. Just as talking about future plans are crucial when getting into a serious relationship, talking about where you stand and where you see yourself is important for a healthy long term business relationship. Happy co-founder hunting!
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