Lessons Learned – Picking Business Partners

Picking business partners when launching in a new venture is very difficult, and there is no secret sauce. Every situation will be different, but there are a few tennets which I would suggest form a base to build on.

You need to have things in common, unless there are things in common then it is a non-starter because you will find it very hard to communicate.

The converse is that you need to bring skills and knowledge the other person does not possess, you need to compliment each other. This is equally important to the previous point. If you both have the same skills, then you are just doubling the output and not enhancing it.

There also needs to be respect for each other’s skills and a balance. There is no room in a startup for people looking down on skill x or skill y because they are not as valued in their profession.

Along with mutual respect, there also needs to be a clear understanding by each party what their limitations are. There is nothing worse than having someone thinking they can do everything or take on every responsibility, because the reality is that they probably can’t. You need to focus on your strengths and learn to hand off stuff that is not a strength.

I am not sure that being best friends is important, but you need to be able to work long hours together without really annoying the hell out of each other.

Open communication is very important, and keeping it professional is also very important.

I am sure there are other things, it really depends on the individuals concerned, but this is the list I would start with.


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