Advice about finding a business partner?
April 16, 2010 6:10 AM   Subscribe

What advice can you give me about finding a business partner? I seem to be faced with two issues. The first is finding someone who is interested in the business I'm trying to start and who compliments my skills. But more importantly, how do I decide if they're trustworthy, reliable, and we share the same objectives and can work well together?

It's a part-time business I'm trying to establish while keeping my day job. I've got a good idea, I've made a lot of progress on my own and I can probably self-finance it if I can find a partner willing to work for sweat equity until it's established.

So far I've tried networking and asking friends and relatives for help finding someone. I am worried about finding someone, but not as much as I am about finding the "right" person and establishing a successful working relationship with them.
posted by 14580 to Work & Money (3 answers total)
This seems like a good starting point.

One thing I'd say is, always make sure to always protect yourself and your business. As they say Trust, but Verify
posted by pyro979 at 6:28 AM on April 16, 2010

The key phrase would seem to be (IMO) due diligence.

If I were being considered as a business partner (that is, interviewed for a job), I'd expect my future partner/employer to potentially:

1. Require a reasonable number of references, including
1.a. Former supervisors (BoD members, if I held a top position like CEO).

2. Check those references.

3. Check my credit history (which requires my permission).

4. Check my record with police departments in cities where I've lived.

5. Check to be sure that companies I worked with/for are actually real entities (there are people out there actually defrauding startups by posing as investors a/o legitimate officers, because money in startups can be much more liquid than in established companies)

6. Check me out online. A former president of an organization I belong to was fired with cause. Naturally, he doesn't list this on his (online) resume, but a simple Google for his name will pop up the lawsuits against him...

Other than that, you need to establish that your personalities can mesh, and it's probably helpful if they bring something to the table, personality-wise, that strengthens your joint effort.

On a recent contract job, I worked for a startup founded by a brilliant, but sometimes overly passionate, entrepeneur. He chose a business partner who was ultra-careful and detail-oriented, with years of experience in management. They didn't always get along, but they always knew the other provided invaluable, irreplaceable value.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:01 AM on April 17, 2010

Oops: "due diligence" defined.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:02 AM on April 17, 2010

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