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Courting a Business Partner

 

Sabiiti Herbert, MBA, BBA (MUK)

Once in a little while, we are told or fall into talk about how people would find themselves in a “blind” marriage. A girl would be “kidnapped” on her way to or from fetching water and she would be joined to a waiting man and a certain marriage would have begun that day, in that moment. Interestingly such kinds of marriages used to last. Am selectively using the courtship metaphor because choosing a business partner should be taken seriously just like choosing a life time marriage partner for as many as would like to see their businesses cross into generations.

The term business partner can have a wide meaning to include stake holders enabling your business. Viz; shareholders, employees, customers, competitors, government, etc.

In today’s post, i will distillate on a person who along with an(other) person(s) play a significant role in owning, managing or creating a company.

There are several merits of having business partners because they bring skills, connections, financial capital that complement yours. The bible also advises in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 _*“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken”*_

Through my bitter experiences over the years and experience of my close associates, i always advise entrepreneurs to trade carefully before selecting a business partner. It should be treated like as if you are looking for a marriage partner. I have divorced and witnessed many business divorces. These business divorces are emotionally and financially painful. Misunderstandings over money and entrepreneurial vision can ruin even the best of friendships and other personal relationships. Some kill each other or spend their fortune in court battles.

During courtship, you may have heartfelt discussions and explore deeply on the following;

*1. Passion:* Is your potential business partner excited about your business or business idea? Like a child, your business is something you gave birth to and will nurture to aid it’s growth. Your potential partner should be able to approach the business with the same level of keenness and commitment that you have. Not one who’ll only find a clean pair of heels when they are needed most.

strong>*2. Skill:* As you date your partner, find out what skill(s) they’re bringing on table. A good business partner should have skills that support and compliment your own. The more skills you and your partner bring to the business together the easier it will be to start, plan, grow, and run your business.

*3. Business Values:* Watch your steps when selecting a business partner. A good one at that should have values – well acceptable in society. There are some people who are too selfish, they love to flourish alone, no wonder they’re the kind that end up stealing their own money, take business ideas or clients to start their own business. They feel they can only succeed if they are alone.

*4. Personal Values:* The public do not differentiate personal behavior from business. Forexample if a partner is a kind who borrows and never pays back, they not only tarnish their own reputation but also for the businesses they’re associated with. Someone who has 12 children from eight women and is still single and searching may not be taken as a serious figure. Imagine you have a hotel but always demanding sexual favor from your clients!

5. Entrepreneurial Spirit: Find out if your potential partner is able to make decisions, set goals and drive the business forward. If you get a partner who is always negative, reluctant and unable to consider your viewpoint, soon or later your partnership will be in ICU.

A lot to share on this subject especially my personal experience. Be my guest always and one by one, these experiences will come through where they’re relevant as we move together to the very top.

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