When you establish a company with someone, you create a legal bond with them. You become connected for better or for worse. Often, you start to spend more time with your business partner than with your family. That’s why a good business partner is a real treasure. By “good,” I mean these four things:
Ambitious. You want a partner with ideas and work ethic, not a child who cannot take care of themselves. You want to join forces with a person who has big dreams, ambitious goals and intrinsic motivation.
Persistent. There will be times when you’re tired and overworked, when your pessimism takes over and when you think that you’ve had enough. When you go through such a rough patch, your partner should be able to keep your spirits up, tell you that it’s okay to have doubts sometimes, and promise to take care of some issues for you—knowing that someday, you’ll do the same for them when they need it.
Willing to compromise. Arguments happen, and sometimes they are pretty serious. But even among difficult and intense emotions, all partners in the company need to remember that they’re opposing the problem, and not opposing each other.
Most of all: honest. When you start a business with someone, your money and public image begin to depend on not only you but also on your business partners. You’ll want to be in business with someone who ensures that your name doesn’t come up in media coverage related to the next big financial scam.
Partners who have all the above-mentioned traits are scarce. Moreover, it’s hard to test those traits until you and your partner(s) actually collaborate and face your first problems.
Helpful advice: Get to know your potential partner(s) before you get involved in a mutual business. Learn about their past and about their fundamental values. Go on a trip together and/or do a small “test” project together. That way, if you establish a company together and it still doesn’t work out, at least you’ll know that you did as much research as you could, and that you might have just been unlucky.