Never in a million years did I think Tweeting about looking for someone to connect me with the local Hip Hop scene did I think that’d lead me to connecting with my future business partner. Like, never.
I am actually really happy it happened the way it did because the thought of intentionally looking for a business partner sounds kind of stressful. Not only am I happy it happened the way it did because of that but also because our relationship rooted in both friendship AND work simultaneously. Our friendship sprouted from common interests/values and the natural business dynamic that we both felt in working together.
This being the case, I didn’t have to worry about risking a long-time friendship by turning it into a business partnership (which I have heard plenty of stories about… who hasn’t heard someone say, “don’t do business with friends or fam!”).
It is my first business partnership though, so it’s definitely been a learning progress. One that I continue to reflect on over the years. What kind of leader am I? Am I communicating with him the best way I can? How can he be more helpful? How can I be more helpful? Should I not text him about work after 10 p.m.?
I am 100% positive there is still much more to learn about truly creating and maintaining a great business partnership but I’ve got some gems. So, here you go:
You talk… a lot
One thing I didn’t really realize until I was in it was just how much I’d be talking to this person. Like, whoa. Especially during certain seasons of our business, we could be texting/calling each other/meeting up everyday, at times even multiple times a day. We talk A LOT. And because of that, communication and learning how to best communicate with each other is incredibly important.
That being said… you’ve got to genuinely like them
I can’t stress enough just how much your business partner will be a part of your life, especially as your business continues to grow. If you’re really in it to win it and you’re going to be spending THAT much time with them, make sure you genuinely like them as a human being. Sounds simple and like a given, but this is really important. You represent each other just as much as you each represent your business. Your business partnership is the core foundation of it all, so make it one that starts with genuinely liking each other as people. If you pick someone who’s just great at business (or creativity) but you don’t like who they are outside of that realm, it’s not going to work out. Trust me.
It gets real. So… pick someone you can go through it all
Unlike other relationships in your life (romantic relationships, friendships, etc.), this one is going to require some real talk. Nitty, gritty talk. You’ll be dealing with money, investments, outside support, no support, struggles, uncertainties, taking risks together, making sacrifices together, mutually agreeing (or disagreeing) on major decisions, etc. You’ve got to have a business partner that feels like a ride or die, basically. One that you feel comfortable talking about money and all that. One that can hype you up when you’re down and vice-versa. It only gets more complicated as you grow, so keep this in mind.
aligning in values/moralE is a plus, plus, plus
One of my favorite things about my business partnership is that we both share a lot of the same core values. At the heart of it all, both love cultivating resources, we love supporting local communities, we love culture, and we are both passionate about this all. This is really helpful because when talking about the vision and mission of your business, your values come into major play. Values also play a role in decision-making.
Compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses
It’s great to be equally great at stuff. It’s even greater to find someone who’s awesome at certain things you aren’t so awesome at and vice-versa. There are so many aspects to building a business (the aspects tend to multiply as you grow, too) that having a team with a diverse set of skills, strengths, and characteristics is essential. Perhaps you have social anxiety but your business partner is a social butterfly! Perhaps they hate analyzing data but you absolutely geek over them! Have these open discussions with your partner (and your team). Talk about each other’s strengths and weaknesses openly and encouragingly.
be mindful of personal life
Building a business and having a business partnership takes up so much of your time as it is… you’ve got to be mindful that you each still have personal lives outside of what you’re building. And you’ve got to be mindful that you probably each have other goals that don’t pertain to the business too. Keep each other updated, support each other inside and outside of your business venture, and let each other just live life. More than likely, if you have a great business relationship, you’re pretty much best friends too. So hang out and talk like it!
expect changes and adjust as needed
Inevitably, as your business grows, as you each grow personally and professionally, change happens. Change occurs internally and externally as a business, and as people. The vision may change for one of you, interests may change, personal life may take over at certain moments, etc. Life happens. So, expect these changes and adjust along the way as needed. Keep that open communication with each other and keep it real always, as mentioned. Just like any other relationship, if you want to keep it strong, keep it going and let it thrive, honesty, communication and understanding are all key.
Are you looking for a business partner? Do you have one already? What are some questions you have about it and/or what other aspects do you find important for a biz partnership? Share in the comment box below!