Sunday, 25 March 2012

My simple model for picking business partners

These are my 3 business partner tests - they are very simple and I haven't been able yet to work them into a clever acronym like "TEAM" using their first letters(yet). Still they seem to work for me! 

My business partners must be 3 things:

1. EXCELLENT IN WHAT THEY DO.  Are they excellent in the area you wish to partner them? How do you know? If they are just average, good enough or merely able to talk a good game then no matter what other attributes then you wont succeed together. Really decent people who are lame ducks don't make good business partners - you are probably running a business not a charity!

2. "PEOPLE INVESTORS".  Have you a strong sense that they will invest in the relationship with you? What are they putting in and more importantly what have they put in in the past? Some partners are they really just looking  for what you can do for them? Some partners are only there when the going is good. And some partners expect the lions share of the success you are building together. Are they prepared to go the hard yards to create something from nothing or do they expect you to do all that?

3. FAIR & ETHICAL.  "If they do it with you they will do it do you". Do they deal fairly with people and ethical challenges in a consistent way? They don't need to be soft or hard just fair! If you dont share the same values on FAIRNESS and ETHICS it will end in tears.

You have to be able to say "yes" (at least "I think so")  to all three questions - deficiencies in one question cannot be cancelled out by superlatives in another - its all or nothing.  Remember with the right partner you can do anything but with the wrong one you will achieve nothing!

Ken Thompson (aka The BumbleBee) blogs about bioteams, virtual collaboration and business simulation at