The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What do you look for in the ideal business partner?” is by Robert Herjavec, founder of Herjavec Group.
The prospect of sinking my heart, soul and liquid assets into a company whose operation is in the hands of others scares the heck out of me.
Never start a business you can’t run yourself. This may seem like common sense, but I say it because time and time again, I’m amazed at the people who know very little (or nothing!) about specific areas of their businesses. Now, don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to be an expert in all things, but you do need to have a healthy understanding of the divisions of your company.
When heading into a business partnership, keep in mind that it’s a mutual agreement that you both need something from one another — usually money or expertise. Otherwise, you probably would have done it yourself.
I started my company with three individuals who specialized in sales, technology and accounting. These departments were the foundation that would build Herjavec Group. I didn’t need their money. I was after their expertise. We were all very different but had some core commonalities, including vision and motivation. It helped that we were all really good at what we did and knew to put any differences aside to focus on the betterment of the company. When we entered into our partnership, and even now, years later, there are three things I remind myself:
Who really dictates if you need a partner? Your customers
Ask yourself, “What are my weaknesses and what aspects of the business could I use help with? How will a partner improve my relationship with existing and future customers?”
Communication is crucial
Bringing on partners means bringing in different perspectives and hearing them out. Knowing their strengths and trusting — but sometimes challenging — their judgments is what keeps balance and helps the business move forward.
This goes for the business as a whole and for one another as partners. As your business changes and evolves, so will your partnership. This is not something to neglect. Check in with each other and make sure your vision and direction are on course. Your relationship sets the foundation for the company, so it’s important to maintain open communication and a united approach to achieving your goals.
Finding someone who shares the passion of growing a business is easy, but finding someone who shares your vision is not always as simple.
Don’t rush. This is your business and your future we are talking about.
Read all responses to the Leadership Insider question: What do you look for in the ideal business partner?
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