Partners in crime. Best friends. Yin and yang. Finding someone who shares your dream of building a business can be both incredibly rewarding and incredibly challenging. Just like many romantic relationships, healthy partnerships are essential to the success of any business. This Valentine’s Day, learn what it takes to have a happy business partnership from several business owners who’ve found their better halves. Use these tips from our experts to learn how to create meaningful and long-lasting business partnerships.
1. Find a business partner whose strengths complement your weaknesses
“You tend to think that the person you’re able to geek out with over ramen is the guy that you want to start a company with, but that’s really not the person you want to start a company with,” said Ophir Tanz, founder of booming image recognition company GumGum on why opposites might attract in business.
“Doing this is so hard and the odds are so stacked against you that you have to be brutally honest in order to continue to move the ball forward,” he said. “That includes being brutally honest about your own skills, capacities, and preferred areas of focus, and finding a co-founder who can fill those gaps. In other words, strive for complementarity—not similarity.”
2. Go into an industry that compliments both of your strengths
“We both entered worlds that we already understood, which was hugely beneficial,” said Andrew Goetz, co-founder of skin care line, Malin+Goetz.
“Spend time thinking through the details and researching. We did that and it was tremendously helpful because it provided a roadmap for exactly what we wanted to do, “said Matthew Malin, co-founder of skin care line, Malin+Goetz on why developing a plan is the key to success.
3. Learn to trust and respect each other
“Honestly, that’s where being married helps,” said Mickey Swortzel, co-founder of New Eagle, a software engineering firm. “I already said, ‘I do,’ to Rich. He has been vetted. I was already in the boat. Even if he rowed it a different way, we have always been in it together.”
4. A successful business partnership requires determination, passion, and optimism
“You have to be highly determined to make whatever dream you have become a reality and no matter what happens it will be successful. Passion is the most important ingredient. You cannot fake it. If you are passionate about your business, people will naturally be attracted and will want to be a part. Optimism keeps everything ticking towards the right direction. There will be hard days, there will be failures, but as long as you keep a positive, optimistic view on life and business, you will make it through,” said Joshua Morgan and Brad Scoggins, the founders of Little Barn Apothecary on the three ingredients to successfully running a business with a partner.
5. Find growth opportunities during challenging times
“A long-term, successful relationship is a growth-based relationship where you and your partner desire to see how you can use challenges to grow together. You need to ask yourselves what balance looks like to you as a couple. I ask couples to do this as a writing exercise, then compare answers. If they’re not the same, you need to find some overlap so that without sacrifice, there’s flexibility for both of you to get your needs met, “said Relationship & Intimacy Expert Marla Mattenson.
To hear more from our experts, follow our better half series on the blog.
What are your stories of working in business partnerships and tell us about your better half? Share your experiences in the comments below.Download the guide