Over the years, I’ve learned that one of the best ways to move forward in business is to work with others. This can be especially true when you are building a business online. Synergy is more than just a silly buzzword; it’s a real thing that can help you take your business to the next level.
I’ve partnered with several people over the course of my business, and it’s been a mostly rewarding experience. But you need to know how to choose the right business partner.
Who Complements Your Skills?
The first step is figuring out who will complement your own strengths. When it comes to websites, I like to partner with writers who don’t like to worry about the backend and monetization. It’s a way for us all to play to our strengths and help prop up the others’ weaknesses—or at least divide the work in a way that allows everyone to do what they enjoy a little bit more.
I’ve chosen to work with Jim Yih, who is a well-known speaker and writer about benefits, and Miranda Marquit, a prolific financial writer who was reluctant to start her own site because she didn’t want to spend time on the backend.
Look for a business partner who can help you close the gaps in your own knowledge and skills, and who can do the same for you.
Vetting the Right Business Partner
Just because someone looks like s/he would be a good fit doesn’t mean that it’s the right choice for you or your business. You need to go through a vetting process, especially if you want to partner with someone you only know online.
Before you take that next step, you might want to do a background check with a site like SocialCatfish.com. A service like this can help you look at online identities and verify whether or not they are “real.”
When I was first approached by Jim Yih, it was a little easier to verify his identity because he lives in the same town I do. We were able to meet up and take a measure of each other. This isn’t always practical when you first start working with someone. Besides, what happens if you take the time to meet with someone, only to discover that you’re not sure about them?
Do your homework ahead of time. Your business partner is someone you will trust with vital information, and you need to know that you are dealing with someone who is genuine and who will make a good long-time business associate. Even if you feel good after an in-person meeting, do a little more research before you agree to anything.
Trust Your Gut
Sometimes choosing the right business partner is about trusting your gut. You might be surprised at how often your intuition is right. That’s one of the advantages of having an in-person meeting. Start out by connecting online and doing your research, but before closing the deal, make sure that you meet in person at least once.
In some cases, that in-person meeting can clinch the good feelings you already have. In other cases, meeting in person might make you reconsider. It doesn’t even have to be because your potential business partner is shady in some way. You might just find that you won’t really work well together like you thought you would. That’s just fine. It’s better to find this out now, rather than in a few months when it’s harder to stop the process, or in a couple years when it could result in a messy legal action.
Working with a business partner (or several partners) can be a good way to take your venture to the next level and accomplish great things. Choose the right business partner, and you’ll go far.