Business without partners is hard. And it’s no fun. No one to share memories with. No one to celebrate with. No one to commiserate with.
No one to hand over the reins to when you have a personal crisis. So how do you find the right partner?
First, make sure you avoid the wrong partner:
1. Birds of a feather flock together
The best crooks are natural salesmen. They talk a good game. Penetrating the façade is impossible, so rather look at who she hangs out with. Are they your kind of people? If not, take a pass. Birds of a feather flock together, always.
2. Live a simple life
A flashy lifestyle attracts bugs. Money attracts leeches. Living the high life attracts the wrong kinds of people. Don’t stick out for having a fancy car. Keep your life simple and you’ll find that bad people will ignore you.
3. Ask your spouse
No one knows you like your spouse. Sometimes she can’t verbalise why someone is a bad match for you, but her gut is saying, “Stay clear.” Listen to her gut.
4. Make yourself vulnerable
If you want to know whether she is going to screw you, make yourself vulnerable. Build in an ‘engagement’ period during which you can break-off the relationship easily, and then make it easy for her to screw you.
5. Watch how she treats other people
Watch how she interacts with people when she doesn’t think you’re watching. If she treats the cleaner differently to how she treats you, stay clear.
6. Play golf
Competitive sport brings out the best and worst in people.
- Does he lose his temper if the ball bounces badly? He can’t handle adversity.
- Does he move his ball in the rough? He’s a cheat.
- Does he throw in the towel before the hole is finished? He lacks perseverance.
- Does he not care about losing? He doesn’t care about winning.
7. Turn up the temperature
Don’t be afraid to crank up the pressure. The only fool-proof method of finding out who people really are is to turn up the heat to the point where they crack.
The right stuff
Okay, so you can filter out the wrong people. Now to find the right people.
Tinder may work for casual sex, but doesn’t work for long-term business partners. In general, the best way to find the right people is to make it easy for them to find you.
How do they find you?
1. Know thyself
If you don’t know who you are, you can’t be who you are. If you can’t be who you are, you can’t be authentic. If you’re not authentic, the right people won’t be attracted to you.
Find mentors, meditate, travel, read books, take risks, reflect on your experiences, do everything you can to maximise your self-awareness.
And then be yourself.
2. Tell everyone
She won’t knock on your door unless she knows you’re looking. Tell your family and friends that you’re looking for a partner. They will naturally filter people based on your personality.
3. Hold up a flag
She can’t knock on your door if she can’t find your door. Make it easy for people to learn about you and your mission, and to contact you. The Internet is the simplest tool for raising a flag. Start a blog, start opening up, start putting yourself out there.
You might think you have nothing of interest to say, but maybe someone else has been waiting their whole life to read what you have to say. You’ll never know unless you try.
Related: The Power of Partnerships
Formalising the partnership
Let’s assume you’ve found the business partner of your dreams. Now you need to put your partnership in writing, usually in the form of a shareholder agreement.
A shareholder agreement is not for marriage, it’s for divorce. You’ll never look at that document again until the day you have to break-up, especially if it’s an acrimonious break-up.
Pay attention to the provisions for exit and dispute resolution, the rest is gumph. Partnership is like the mafia. Hard getting into, much harder getting out.