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Does it matter if you aren’t good friends with your business partner?

Friday, 19 April 2013 | By Franz Madlener

I’m looking for a business partner for my start-up. There’s someone who has the skills I lack (sales and marketing) but I don’t know her very well and am not sure we’ll get on, to be honest. What should I do?

 

According to the website www.divorce360.com we would have a 17% greater chance of having a successful marriage if our partner were chosen for us, as opposed to choosing our partner for ourselves.

 

Even more disturbing is their statistic that we are 65% more likely to be married to someone with less compatible qualities than we would ideally like, but for the fact that we were physically attracted to this partner in the first place.

 

Now imagine you had of asked your question like this:  “I’m looking for a life partner for my marriage.  There’s someone who has the skills I lack (childrearing and budgeting) but I don’t know her very well and am not sure we’ll get on, to be honest. What should I do?”

 

What advice do you imagine I would give you?  Go out for a few beers and get to know one another?

 

Find out one another’s interests, goals, drivers, likes and values? Spend some time together to see if there is a good fit?

 

Business relationships and personal relationships are just about one and the same (except for that obvious one “thing” that I don’t need to mention).

 

It’s all about give and take. Common goals.  Commitment.  Trust.  Honesty. Communication.

 

I have had seven business partners in my life, and it has been a bit like the seven dwarfs.  Each with their own qualities and personalities.  Some I am still great friends with, some, well, not so much.

 

But what I do know, is that I couldn’t have achieved what I did in my business life without them, and that I am grateful for what they brought to the business, which was generally what I lacked.

 

In six out of the seven I instigated the partnership as I knew that this person had something that the business needed.

 

The other came about by chance, and although we had nothing in common in our personal lives, we had everything in common when it came to making the business work.

 

The most important component in all this however would come down to just one thing, which is that you are both there for the same reason – for the benefit of the business.

 

There are no guarantees that you will get it right when it comes to picking a business partner.

 

But then again there are no guarantees that you will get it right in your personal relationship either – probably less so now that I have sifted the web looking at stats on choosing poorly.

 

But what I can guarantee is that you can’t do it all on your own, and sooner or later you need to get out there and find out the ‘who, what, where, when and how’ that is best for your business.

 

So my advice is to go and have a beer/coffee/herbal tea with this person, and start chewing the fat!