Don't Delay: Network Today!
The sooner you start networking, the more options you'll discover and the longer you'll have to get to know potential candidates. Don't introduce the fact up-front that you're looking to work with other entrepreneurs in equal partnership, but hint at your receptiveness to mutually beneficial collaborations. By using careful discretion and keeping your field of discussion to general shared interests, you'll avoid bad apples who prey on other business founders to turn a quick buck with little or no interest in long-term commitments.
Gauge Interest in Your Business Idea
While networking, find out what potential candidates have done in the past and what areas of business and industry they're naturally drawn towards. Business is as diverse and specialized as medicine; you wouldn't get a veterinarian to perform laser eye surgery for you, and neither should you get an aspiring photographer to help you start your pizza franchise…at least not in a management capacity. At the end of the day, though, remember that commitment, dedication, interest, and personality will always be more valuable than education or experience. Anyone can learn, but enthusiasm for a particular objective cannot be taught. By gauging the interest people express in your business ideas, you should be able to tell how genuinely passionate they are about the field, and how much they'd be willing to put into it as a business partner.
Be Honest About Your Ambitions
One of the most common reasons many business partnerships never succeed beyond a few months is simply that one or both parties don't want them to. Do you want your business to last a lifetime, or would you prefer to build it up and sell it for a quick profit? Would you want to sell your stake to your partner or buy their shares if it ever reached its full potential? Make sure your aims are the same as any potential partner by being upfront and honest about your long-term ambitions and encouraging them to be equally frank.
Think About Your Weaknesses, Not Your Strengths
You might get along great with someone with an identical skill-set to you, but your business will probably be better served by someone who can do things you can't. Make a list of all the things you think would be critical for the enterprise of your ambitions and consider which leadership tasks could be better served by someone else. Ask your friends and other entrepreneurs for honest feedback on your weaknesses and keep an eye out for potential partners whose strengths could fill those voids.
Make It Official: Hire Legal Council
No matter how well you think you get along with your new business partner to-be, don't skip the critical step of getting the full agreement in writing. Even if both parties are comfortable with an existing contract, make sure a lawyer is present to certify the agreement. More than a safety net for worst-case scenarios, this process will catch any miscommunications that might have occurred in verbal discussions, and build a mutual confidence in the professional nature of your new business.
Whether you're running an Internet startup from your parents’ basement, a service provider from a shiny new virtual office, or a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer, finding the right business partner will open up a whole new world of opportunities for your entrepreneurial career. If you’d like to learn more about virtual offices, contact us today at YourCityOffice.com.