Who is the right person to partner with?

As most of you guys know, I’m all about relationships when it comes to success in the business world.  

Relationships with your clients, relationships with your employees and relationships with your professional services team (e.g., lawyers, accountants etc) in my mind, are absolutely crucial to your overall business success.

But today I want to talk about a relationship that is even more important than those in the business world.

The relationship you have with your business partner.

And the reason I bring this up is because of a situation that I deal with a lot.

Business Person A has an idea and talks to Business Person B about it.

Business Person B loves it!

They form a partnership – either around a specific project or even an official company – and off they go!

A certain amount of time goes by and Business Person B realizes that his “partner” might not be all that he thought they would be.  And as a matter of fact, he’s having some serious reservations about the whole thing.

But now things have gotten complicated because revenue has been made, ideas have been shared and talked about, and just a whole lot of stuff that makes it very hard to untangle.

And that’s when I get a call.

“Scott, I’m getting sued by my business partner.  Can you help?”

Short answer: Yes.

But even better than that, let’s take a look at how you can avoid getting in that type of mess in the first place.  Because believe me, avoiding a legal problem is always better than dealing with one.

So with that said, here’s what I advise people to consider – before they set up the partnership – to look out for when engaging in this type of situation.

Does the person have integrity?

This in my mind is first and foremost in everything.  Can you trust the person to carry out their responsibilities, not only upholding the letter of the law, but the spirit as well.

Here’s the thing: You’re not going to be able to monitor every single thing this person does.  

And if you can’t reasonably expect them to handle things from a place of truth and integrity, then you definitely are talking to the wrong person and don’t even want to consider partnering, regardless of circumstances!

Can I trust them to do what they said they would do?

This is an interesting one, and something I personally consider my second most important attribute when potentially partnering with someone.  

If they say something, and we talk about it.  

And then we’re able to come to an agreement regarding what each of us is going to do…and after all of that they don’t do it.

Then for me, that’s a problem.

And it should be for most business owners as well.

Now I understand that my action based, personality type and overall approach to business life isn’t for everyone.  And I’m also not saying that it’s a perfect.

But it has gotten me to the level of success where I am today, and if you look at other successful business owners across the world, I think you’ll find that most of them were men and women of action as well.

That’s literally how you get stuff done!

So if you’re partnering with someone who likes to “wait and see,” and someone who is constantly giving you reasons why not to move forward, then just make sure that you have an arrangement where his pragmatism and your sense of action meshes, otherwise all you’re doing is inviting resentment and frustration.  

Does a better option exist?

Now this can be a little harsh, but we’re talking business here so just bear with me.  Just like you wouldn’t go buy a car without looking at all of your options, the same should be done with your potential business partners…regardless of how “small” the partnership is.

Again, for me personally, I like to get a feel for the person’s skill set, along with what – exactly – they bring to the table, then see if that’s something that I can do myself or can get from someone else.

And that doesn’t mean that I’m actively shopping around for a better deal, but I am thinking about some other potential options and definitely floating it by some people in my inner circle before I officially sign anything with another person.

The Bottom Line

Business can be fun.  And partnering with someone who also a compatible skill set can make it even more rewarding.

But before jumping in head over heels, just make sure that you’re partnering with the right person on the right deal, under the right circumstances.

Because if not, you could find yourself the unwitting beneficiary of endless legal bills and countless frustrations.

And take my word for it, that’s not a road you want to go down.