SBT caught up with Business Mentor, David Mellor for his expert advice for August’s Ask the Expert section

‘How do I choose the right business partner?’ is a question I get asked regularly by clients. So here are 10 things to look for in a business partner – and why.

  1. Do you share a similar code of conduct?

If you don’t feel comfortable letting this person loose on your best client without you being there, there’s no point going any further.

  1. What’s their track record?

You need evidence they can do what you’re looking for, consistently well.

  1. Is it all me, me, me?

A partner must source work for everyone in the business – not just themselves.

  1. Can they talk the talk AND walk the walk?

They might have technical excellence but they have to communicate well, too.

  1. Can they seize the initiative?

You need someone who can spot opportunities and capitalise on them.

  1. Do they put the client first?

They must believe this and genuinely do it.

  1. Are they confident and courageous?

Don’t mistake these traits for arrogance. They should have the confidence to walk away from deals if they feel compromised or conflicted.

  1. Do they have business acumen?

They should be able to take a holistic view of the business and the marketplace before reaching commercial decisions.

  1. Are they authentic?

An individual’s authenticity reflects directly on the reputation of your firm.

  1. Do they have technical excellence?

Their know-how, expertise and experience must add value to your business so rate each attribute out of 10. You want a total of at least 70, with no single score below five.

I’d recommend a trial period too, and provision for an orderly dissolution of the partnership if things don’t work out. If you have an ounce of doubt, don’t do it.