A great business partner should fill the holes you can’t. If you’re the yin, they need to be the yang. If you’re strong at logistics, they should be great at sales. Most importantly, they should keep you accountable, and inspire you to pursue more. Of course, you have to respect and care about this person as a brother or sister. Without that level of camaraderie and support, it’s not maximizing the value of a business partnership.
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At a dinner meeting last week, I was talking with another entrepreneur. This guy has launched a successful automotive business, blinds distribution company and technology firm – vintage serial entrepreneur. As the drinks kept coming, the conversation got more philosophical, as it typically does. And he shared a valuable piece of information his father once shared with him before venturing into business for himself. It was advice about finding great business partners, and I think it is brilliant…
His father told him that successful entrepreneurship is about three things: integrity, having fun, and trust.
Therefore, his father taught, one should never partner with someone they can’t envision “having a great time with driving from Calgary to California in an RV…”
For those of you not familiar, that’s about a 1,300-mile trek. Long enough to get to know someone in tight quarters.
Chuckling, I thought that was a perfect analogy and one which I could very literally relate to…
Every summer for about five consecutive years I drove down the California coast to Big Sur from Vancouver in my sports car with one of the first business partners I ever had. Tighter quarters than an RV and yet we always had a fantastic time. Usually took about a week to do the drive, and it was an adventure. He is a guy I still work with today (have for nearly a decade) and one who I likely will work with for years to come.
On the contrary, using this analogy, if you can’t envision yourself having a great time with a prospective business partner while driving in an RV 1300+ miles, perhaps you should reconsider going into battle together as entrepreneurs…
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