Angie Mansfield

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Is It Time for a Business Partner?

Angie Mansfield

March 20, 2013

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If you're tackling a new business on your own, or heading up a small business that is taking off, you may start feeling overwhelmed.

In the event your workload is becoming more than you can manage, it may be time to look for a business partner, someone who can bring you some assistance in keeping your company on solid footing.

Benefits of Having a Business Partner

You can get several benefits from bringing a business partner into your company.

First, you can split up your workload and reduce stress for both of you. You'll also have someone there to take care of work while you go on a much-needed vacation, or recover from an illness.

A business partner can act as a sounding board, so you can bounce ideas off each other and choose the right direction for your company.

Should you spend more or less on marketing? Are you blogging enough and using social media to your advantage? Can you afford to scale back on employees without impacting your customer service? These are but a few of the things you can discuss with someone in the same position as you. And if you choose the right business partner, he or she will have skills and expertise that complement yours, making your company stronger overall.

Possible Problems with a Business Partner

The key, of course, is in finding the right business partner. You'll have to take your time and choose the right person to avoid a nasty breakup of the partnership later.

A partner who's unproductive, unprofessional, or irresponsible will cause more headaches than he'll solve. And someone with a bad financial history should send up instant red flags.

Where to Look

Keep in mind that finding the right business partner may take a lot of time and effort. Don't expect to find your perfect match overnight.

That said, there are a few good places to begin your search:

* Local networking events, such as those organized by the Chamber of Commerce or local small business groups.

* Trade shows or other events specific to your industry.

* Social media/blogging are both great ways to network and see who else is out there in your line of work. As you use both vehicles to network, you can see if there is a good potential fit to bring into your business.

* Friends and family. By putting the word out with those closest to you, they can help you find someone who will fit with your personality

How to Choose

You wouldn't hire an employee without checking her references and background, so the same applies when it comes to a partner.

You can help protect yourself by setting up your business so your new partner's shares become vested over time; this way, he won't be able to take half your company assets with him if the partnership dissolves.

It's as important to know how you differ with your potential business partner as how you're similar. You need to be able to work together, but your skills and expertise should also be able to balance with your partner's shortcomings in these same areas.

For instance, if you tend to be an idea generator, you want to find a partner who's more action-oriented and can make your ideas a reality. And if you're a natural-born salesman, you need a partner to cover the production side of your business.

Balancing your strengths and weaknesses with your potential partner's may be a challenge during your search -- but the effort will pay off when you find the perfect person to help you take your business to the next level.


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