Choosing the right business partner

It makes things a lot easier if you have a partner to share the responsibility of a new business with you but how do you make sure you are choosing the right person? Sage Business Expert Amanda Webb takes about her partnership with Lorna Sixsmith for We Teach Social and shares some tips on choosing the right person to go into business with.

we-teach-socialI’ve been working with my business partner on and off for four years. It’s only in the last year and a half that we’ve formalised that partnership with a new business venture We Teach Social.

I first met Lorna at a Women In Business networking meeting at the Carlow Enterprise Board. I had recently moved to the area and Lorna had just started an interior design business. We were both presenting our businesses to the group that night. Little did we know that we would both eventually close those businesses and start working together.

Both of us started blogging around the same time so when I had the idea of forming a local bloggers group the first person I thought of was Lorna. She was the only person I could think of locally who was as enthusiastic about blogging as me. We still run that network together but since then we’ve also launched Blog Awards Ireland and finally our new business.

I’ve lucked out with such a good business partner. If you are looking to go into business with someone here’s what I think makes our partnership work.

1. Trust

If you wouldn’t trust your business partner to mind your children you shouldn’t go in to business with them. Trust becomes more important over time. You need to be able to talk to her if you are having a problem that will affect your business. If you don’t trust your business partner you could end up hiding errors or spend time worrying that they are. This is never going to be conducive to a successful business.

2. Thick skin

When two people spend a large amount of time working together there are bound to be areas of conflict. Sometimes we all have bad days when we aren’t as measured or as polite as we should. For times like these you need to have a thick skin. You have to understand that close relationships make conflict more likely. Dealing with it well means it will never become a big issue.

3. Complimentary skills

Both myself and Lorna are impulsive and highly driven. This is what makes us work well together. The rest of our skills tend to be complimentary. I am the geek dealing with the technology and websites. Lorna is better at sales, talking to and networking with other people.

4. Understanding of each other’s time

Lorna is a mother of two and a farmer’s wife, her time is far more stretched than mine. Although I’m able to work at all hours I try and keep weekends free. I think the real key to our business relationship is understanding these constraints. Lorna knows I don’t want to talk work at the weekend and I know she needs family and farm time during the day.

You won’t always get it right with your choice of business partner. If you like each other, trust each other and both feel equal in the partnership you will be a long way to ensuring success.

Amanda Webb

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Amanda Webb is a social media trainer, strategist, blogger, video-caster and speaker at Spiderworking.com. She works with SME’s helping them in improve their social media strategies. Amanda learnt her skills whilst running her first business, an eco-gift company.

Prior to that she worked in the film business as an assistant director on productions including Angela’s Ashes and Adam & Paul. Amanda is also the co-founder of Blog Awards Ireland and a partner in the social media training company We Teach Social.