Finding the right business partner is akin to finding "the one." Navigating the relationship takes work, demands the right chemistry and is made possible with a brush of luck.
All too often great business ideas fall flat because co-founders aren't a match made in business heaven. In a world where investors put their money behind people as much as the ideas they have, learning to master the relationship with you and your business partner is key.
After years of working together, it’s safe to say that my co-founder, Charlie Good, and I have mastered the harmony that is necessary for successful co-founder chemistry. Looking back on our work dynamic, we’ve found that tried-and-true love clichés ring true for business partners. So when you're navigating matters of business partner relationships, keep these clichés in mind:
When you know, you know.
When Charlie and I randomly met in a meeting, we knew had a business bond worth capitalizing on. Following our initial gut feeling, we set out to create a business based on the sole fact that we wanted to work together. We weren’t married to our initial ideas, so we were able to pivot our business plans as needed and eventually create a successful company together. So follow your heart and listen to your gut feelings.
Long distance makes the heart grow fonder.
Throughout our entire business relationship, Charlie and I have never lived in the same state, let alone worked in the same office. Separated by more than 1,000 miles, how have we made long distance work? Our answer to that is same for most long-distance couples – open communication. Thanks to technology we’re able to frequently check in and touch base though multiple channels like Skype, email and telephone. Just as love knows no boundaries, don't be quick to reject the idea of working with a great partner who is not geographically close to you.
When it comes to business, you want your partner to have different strengths than you do. Charlie says I am the more rational one, the think-before-I-speak type, while he is the techie-geek who says what's on his mind. Together we play off each other's strengths to drive a successful company. Seek out a partner who complements you, and like corresponding puzzle pieces, you'll fit together to bring your business vision to life.
Related: How to Find the Perfect Co-Founder
Love means finishing each other's sentences.
You have to be able to anticipate what's on your partner’s mind. For Charlie and I, understanding each other as a business duo just works. During meetings we’ll sense what the other is thinking and know when there is an issue we need to check on after. Channel your mind-reading skills so you can work together to understand the business goals and challenges that are closest to your heart.
Never go to bed angry.
The same goes for your co-founder. Any issues you have should be addressed and resolved immediately. Otherwise, small issues will build up and lead to bigger problems like a clashing company culture or misaligned values. Pick your battles and know that you are both on the same team working toward a common goal.
Building a company is hard work, and to do it solo is an even bigger commitment. If you're lucky enough to find a business partner who you can trust, it's worth taking the plunge with them.