Bring In A Partner? Part V

One of the most difficult decisions a sole owner of a business can make is on whether to bring in a partner or not. Ask many sole owners if they want to and the answer is “no.” Some have had the experience of having a bad partner or a once successful partnership that went bad. Others just do not want the interference with their control of the business. But others are thinking about it whether for the isolation they feel at the top, or the need for capital or for the chance to bring in a younger person to whom they can sell or transfer the business later on. In this series we are looking at the things that support a strong, successful partnership:

Complementary skills. Bringing in a partner is like hiring the right person but more intense. We have talked before in this space about having the discipline to document in as much detail as possible the attitude of the person you seek, either as a partner or an employee. In a partner don’t you want to get someone who thinks and acts like an owner?  You also have to list the skills you are looking for. Then you document your own skills (and assess your own ownership behavior.) The look at the four functions of the business: Sales and Marketing, Operations, Finance and Administration and Human Resources. Where does your highest and best use fit? So, what other function or functions would a partner need to be responsible for in order to complement you? There are assessment tools like Profiles XT that can help you with this search and decision-making. These tools can help you evaluate your best 3 candidates and can contribute to your decision. It can even lead you to find additional partners. (Remember that 3 partners can be a bad combination-it can work out to often be two against one.)