I meet people every day who are either choosing a new business partner OR who are going into a joint venture partnership with other people. Many of these partnerships work, and many are a recipe for disaster from the get-go.
Before you enter into a business partnership with anyone in the future, I highly recommend that you take the following five steps. Trust me…they work!
1) Date the person for at least six weeks.
Choosing a business partner requires a courting period. I recommend that you go to and outing (movie, sporting event) and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with your potential biz partner at least 3 times. You can pick up cues (do they eat with their mouth open, are they rude to the waiter, are they a cheap tipper, do they constantly use foul language?) during the dating process that will show up in the partnership down the road.
2) Check at least 3 references.
Ask your future business partner for 3 references from other business partners they have worked with in the last 18 months. This could be in business, an investment or someone they served with on a board of directors. Ask about their time management skills, ability to interact with other people, integrity and work ethic.
3) Meet the family.
When you begin doing business with people, the family will get involved…trust me on this. If the wife/husband/partner/kids are hell on wheels, this is going to come into your business partnership. I see it every day.
4) Perform a DiSC Assessment on yourself and your future business partner.
The DiSC assessment (Download a Sample D.i.S.C. Assessment here) is a great tool for telling you a bit about your communication style. As an example, a high “D” is a very dominant, driven person. If you are both high “D’s”, you may get into a battle over who’s really in charge. But…if you have complimentary communication styles (High D/I’s and high C/S styles usually do a great job together,) you will probably be on the right path in choosing a business partner. For more information on the DiSC or to purchase one, visit our assessment page.
5) Notice your intuitive hunches about your future business partner.
When you spend time with this person, is something just not adding up? Does something feel “off”? If so, you may be staring into the face of someone who is going to screw you to the wall down the road. It is not uncommon for people to “shrug off” those intuitive hunches about people, and this is a huge mistake. If something just does not feel right about this person, back off immediately, and look at your own history. Who does this person remind you of, and what went down in the past that is conjuring up this intuitive hunch? Pay close attention to that hunch before diving into a business relationship..