Finding the right business partner is no easy feat. You probably have an idealized image in your head of the type of like-minded individual you would like to launch your venture with, but as with a lot of aspects in life, things don’t always work out the way you planned. The stark reality is that you will most likely work your way through multiple business partners as you embark down your desired career path, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For one reason or another, some partnerships simply won’t work out and most the time no particular party is to blame.
Due to the continued and rapid growth of the internet and social media, there are more ways than ever to find a partner that shares your goals and aspirations. Below we’ve collected some of the best ways to find your perfect business partner.
Meetup is an online networking portal that allows people to organise offline group meetings across the world. Boasting nearly 14 million members, there are groups for every hobby and interest imaginable. Although the majority of people use Meetup for recreational activities, more and more business orientated groups are popping up around major cities and startup hotspots.
Apart from being great places to seek advice, practice your pitching skills and build relationships, these startup focused gatherings are a great way to meet like-minded individuals and potential business partners. They are usually free to attend although some may charge a small entry fee to cover costs of refreshments and food, and it’s not uncommon to have prominent figures presenting or running workshops.
Below are some examples of relevant Meetups that are perfect for finding a partner:
Explore your own network
One of the best ways to find a partner is to simply start with the people you know. You would be surprised at how often your ideal partner is a friend of a friend or distant acquaintance, and the message that you are on the hunt will soon spread fast.
Begin by assessing your strengths and weakness and work out what you need from a business partner. Teaming up with someone who excels in key areas you fall short in will bolster your business, progressing to a more well-rounded skillset overall. Identifying your requirements will make it easier to portray to your friends, family and associates exactly what you’re looking for, in turn increasing the likely hood of finding the perfect match.
Conferences and networking events
Along a similar vein as Meetup, there are an abundance of conferences and networking events that are well worth attending. The tickets to such events can sometimes be quite expensive, especially for a startup on a shoestring budget, but the knowledge offered coupled with the opportunity to network usually makes up for it.
Be sure to capitalize on the short and precious time you have with like-minded individuals and potential customers. Be sure to execute these basic networking tips as a rule of thumb:
- Arm yourself with a fixed number of business cards, and don’t leave until you’ve handed them all out
- Create an elevator pitch for yourself that is no longer than 20 seconds and highlights who you are and what you do
- Ask questions, try to avoid talking about yourself or your business unless asked
- Remember to follow up with the people who you exchange details with
PartnerUp is a free networking site that encompasses several aspects typically related to small businesses and startups. However as the name suggests, it predominately focusses on connecting potential partners and opportunity discovery. There is a heavy emphasis on communication and the site successfully encourages healthy discussion between entrepreneurially spirited individuals.
Members regularly offer and seek advice about new challenges they must overcome, and there is a real sense of transparency found across all areas of the site. The ability to search for opportunities is well suited to individuals who have the desire to work for a startup or small business, but lack that golden idea to take it to the next level.
PartnerUp succeeds at creating a community driven hub; it’s been running for several years and boasts an impressive user base, however it currently only allows US signups. As with most things on the internet, be sure to execute caution when revealing intimate details of any ideas you may have.
Whether you’re actively seeking a partner or considering sharing the load, it’s important to remember that things won’t always go smoothly. Fights and disagreements are inevitable, and are a healthy way to logically overcome problems and move the company forward. If you feel like you have found the right person, ensure that everything is sound from a legal standpoint. This prevents several complications further down the line when the company starts doing well.
If you have advice based on personal experience on finding a business partner, be sure to let us know in the comments below.