Network, network, network

The first step to finding partnerships is being in the right place at the right time. This means going to as many networking events as you can stomach — in person, that is, not just over LinkedIn. Live networking events like conferences, talks, conventions, launches; anywhere that people who work in your industry gather regularly.

Humans, not business tools

The killer of any networking conversation is when the person you’re talking to realizes it’s a networking conversation. By this, I mean a conversation whose only outcome is business-motivated, financial. Unsurprisingly, most people like to be treated as people, rather than a vehicle for business growth. That means, when you’re networking, show a genuine effort to build a personal connection. After all, you may be working with this person for a long time to come, you want to at least try to get along.

Look for a balance

The best business partners fill out your weaknesses, giving you a balanced spread of skills you couldn’t achieve by yourself. When researching and networking, try to find people who excel in areas you don’t, rather than doubling up on what you’re already good at. If you’re a sales whizz you might be attracted to another salesperson, but if neither of you has any technical knowledge you’ve not solved your partnership problem.

Trust, and contingency

Even once you’ve determined you and your partner share values and complement each other’s strengths, the relationship is fraught if you can trust one another. If all goes well, you will be collectively building a profitable business, something that requires openness and compromise. Both of you need the humility to compromise or at least the openness to admit you might be wrong. Without that, you’re careening towards a divided company.

Conclusion

Business partnerships may not be marriages, but they certainly share a lot of traits. You will share a lot of time and money with your partners, and even the strongest unions aren’t devoid of arguments. Still, if you’ve found the right person, they’ll make you stronger and, hopefully, happier.

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