Top 7 Things To Look For In A Business Partner

Having a bad day?

- Whew -


I haven’t had much time to breath lately – and boy was yesterday a humdinger (yes… sometimes I say ‘humdinger’)

In fact, the past few months have practically flown by. What’s all the fuss about you may ask? (Go ahead, ask. I’ll wait)

We’re opening a business. A Restaurant in fact. Well, more of a restaurant/cafe fusion serving up healthy comfort foods. I can’t say much more about it just yet, but believe me – it’s going to be fantastical!

Now, I don’t know if you know much about restauranteering,  but let me tell you, it takes a ton of freaking work to move something this big forward. It’s stressful and crazy and just a little beautiful if you can take a moment to step back and breath once in a while.

In short, opening a restaurant is a very emotional experience; very, very raw. Most things seem to be beyond your control and almost everything is a HUGE make/break decision (or feels like it at first).

As I mentioned, yesterday was a day full of woe, where everything seemed to be going the wrong way. By dinner I was more exhausted, physically, emotionally, than I can remember being in… well, years.

As it turns out, almost everything ‘came up Milhouse’ by the end of the day, but at any given point in time throughout the day, I was pretty sure this whole project was coming to a crashing halt.

But, if you want to be an Entrepreneur, no matter the industry, you have to be ready to move. To pivot. To navigate the turbulence and not just survive the experience, but drive positive change because of it.

Yesterday was just such a day.  And it got me thinking… Thank goodness for my partners. My wife (life partner) and my business partner. Both of whom helped me survive the day. Not that it was pretty. There were a few arguments. Some heightened tensions. But at the end of the day, I’m not sure I would have pulled through without the help of these people in my life.

PartnersPartners, CAN be a great thing. So today I wanted to talk a little about Partners. Specifically, what makes a good partner.

And so, without further ado…

What you should be looking for in a good partner:

  1. Someone who shares your passion. Having someone who has a similar level of enthusiasm and commitment that you have will help ensure that you weather the tougher times and that good ideas will continue to see the light of day. And passion is the source of all motivation!
  2. Someone who shares the same vision. What’s the overall plan? How will the business be structured? What is your target market? What is the exit strategy? Are you going to fight over the same position? Being in alignment could be a make-or-break decision for your new business.
  3. Someone who shares the same business philosophies. My wife and I couldn’t be more different. Different hobbies. Different interests. Different types of friends. Different ways of looking at things. Different methods of handling difficulties, problems, and stress. And while this may cause tension from time to time, everything ends up aces in the end because we share a nearly identical set of life philosophies – We see eye-to-eye on things like money, kids, family, life, etc. – All the things that are really important in a marriage. Business Partners need to be like that in their business.
  4. Someone with the right handle on their personal life. Take a look at your perspective partner’s personal life and relationships. If everything is in shambles, how can you reasonable expect them to handle their business affairs any differently?
  5. Someone who can offer resources, experience, talent or credibility. If they can’t, then why are you considering them as a partner? Maybe they would make a better first employee.
  6. Someone who has the ability to listen and the strength to disagree. Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t know how to really listen. I SAID… A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW HOW TO LISTEN – sorry, I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to that guy in the back there, typing on his iPhone. Compromise is good for everyone, and a good argument can help sand off the rough edges from any new plan. Partners should be helping to hone the vision, and bring new ideas to the table – and they won’t always be great.
  7. Someone who complements your skill set. Are you the visionary? Then find a partner who can execute. Are you Right brain? Then find a lefty to take care of the analytical side of the business. Are you the sales guy? Perfect, find someone who can run the business while you are out selling. Know where your biggest shortcomings are and find someone who can pick up that slack.

Here’s a short bonus section: How do you make it work in a partnership?

  1.  Trust, transparency, patience, respect and appreciation of each others efforts. Remember – it works both ways.
  2.  Top notch communication!
  3. Stay focused & don’t try to do everything. Opening any business, but especially with restaurants, there are 1 million + details that have to be figured out. Half of them will be unknown when you start out and there will be stressful, frustrating days. Remember that you are on a team and lean on your partner if they can help.

 Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to change the world on your way out!