Finding partners for a new business

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by kingc0bra, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. kingc0bra macrumors regular

    kingc0bra

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    #1
    What do you guys think is the easiest/best way to find a partner for a new business?
     
  2. haxrnick macrumors 6502a

    haxrnick

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    Seattle
  3. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

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    #3
    When I've entered into partnerships, I've done it with folks who I knew from past business. There wasn't just some informal "Hey we're partners", but clearly defined plans for equity, vesting, performance expectations, roles & responsibilities, etc. I've never been involved in any kind of investment capacity (other than time), and they've all been in the tech sector.

    I don't know what the business is, but I hear so many stories of failed businesses in the food and/or drink industry, due to sketchy partners.
     
  4. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #4
    Well, @haxrnick, I cannot say that I see eye to eye with you on some other issues, but this is beautifully and succinctly expressed. Well said.

    To the OP: Before recruiting partners for anything, one might recommend a bit of due diligence, a lot of research into the business, the markets and the putative partners.

    Me, I'd look at things such as my personal knowledge of them, their track record, the state of the market, the economy, what skills and areas of expertise that you lack that they can fill…..and so on.
     
  5. kingc0bra thread starter macrumors regular

    kingc0bra

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    #5
    I understand the need for a good understanding of the market and the business one is pursuing. I am asking more in regards to meeting people who have the same entrepreneurial spirit in the same field one is looking to start a business in.

    I do have friends and coworkers who may be interested in a business but not necessarily have the entrepreneurial drive or the same passion as I do.

    I can appreciate the sarcasm from haxrnick but my intentions were not to find a partner on the forums obviously.
     
  6. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #6
    Yes, @kingc0bra, but do you want people to replicate your own strengths, or complement them, or, for that matter, compensate for your weaknesses?

    It is very easy to seek people who you will connect with and will share your vision, in your case, those 'who have a shared entrepreneurial drive', or a 'shared passion'.

    But, for a business to work, you will need people who complement your vision, and fill in lacunae, or gaps, who can address areas which are not your strong points. If entrepreneurial spirit is your strong point, what about marketing, or innovation? Or solid accounting?

    You may also need people who are not afraid to call out delusional nonsense, who are sufficiently independent of the business hierarchy not to fall for group-think, and who are unafraid to ask awkward questions if the business is heading for the rocks.

    You have to ask yourself what you want of this business, and what it is you want of a partner. A sounding board? A loyal No 2? Someone who can handle what you can't? And is the partner to be a friend, a colleague, or an equal? What happens if you fall out? How will you handle conflict? Remember, Apple fired Mr Jobs. (Yes, around a decade or so later, they brought him back, we know).

    These are the things - not just 'entrepreneurial spirit' - I'd ask myself privately - before seeking a business partner.
     
  7. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

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    #7
    Can you elaborate a little on the business (without disclosing anything you're not comfortable with)?

    Are you the founder? Revenue, clients, contracts, business in place? Are you looking to startup with partners (and as such, co-founders)?

    You're right about the ability to execute vs. the entrepreneurial drive - the latter is some kind of genetic thing :D I'm on my 4-5-6th businesses, starting doing my own thing in my early 20s, never looked back.

    That being said, I was involved in a startup that raised some decent capital, crashed and burned, then another startup over the last 6 months, an old friend and partner, and I wasn't really happy with where in put me in terms of my "life goals". So be prepared to _not_ succeed, and determine your contingency in advance (as well as your risk <> reward)
     
  8. kingc0bra thread starter macrumors regular

    kingc0bra

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    #8
    Thanks for the followup scepticalscribe and D.T.

    I do understand your points as to finding a partner who can complement for my weakness in certain aspects but that feels secondary to me. It feels like anything that I may not be strong in, let's say for example marketing or branding, can be an open position for someone later on once the company has gained some traction. Yes, I know that marketing is a huge piece of the puzzle when first starting a company and trying to find some investors but then again I am thinking more in terms of creating a business that will require little to no capital to start and build it up from there (while using the expertise and services of partners/friends for a certain fee or percentage of the company).

    I have a few ideas I jotted down, all of which may be unrelated to one another. The problem again is finding a partner to help out with these ideas, and if it isn't someone who is as passionate about these endevaours as I am, then I feel like the company will have no chance of succeeding.

    You can see from all the great entrepreneurs of the biggest companies that they have 1 thing in common, they are passionate about what they are pursuing and creating. Of course it also takes a good amount of luck, but I feel like my perfectionist mentality wouldn't allow me to partner with someone who is only semi-interested in the field/business I am pursuing.

    Hope that sense...
     
  9. senseless macrumors 68000

    senseless

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    Pennsylvania, USA
    #9
    Use extreme caution. A bad partner is like a bad marriage. Keep 51% of the shares at least. 3 way partnerships do not work because it's often 2 against 1.
     
  10. Scepticalscribe, Sep 3, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #10
    I agree that caution - and a lot of thought - is a good idea.

    One area, which touches on the thoughts touched on in @senseless's post, is that you really do need to clearly demarcate the boundaries of what you want, or need, from a partner. Not just in terms of professional competencies, but in terms of personal relations, and personal relationships, too.

    There is a difference between a business and a friendship, and, while an endeavour that includes both can be excellent, when - or if - it does wrong, the consequences can be catastrophic, especially if this is a business that you both run together, and thus, have responsibility for, rather than an organisation you both simply work for, which has an entirely different dynamic.

    In other words, if you recruit friends as partners - because they share drive, vision, dreams, be aware that a world where the friendship and the perceived needs of the business may clash, and that one may be sacrificed for the other. Before starting out, to my mind, this is one of the things you need to have quite clear in your head.
     

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