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.
- 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.
- What’s their track record?
You need evidence they can do what you’re looking for, consistently well.
- Is it all me, me, me?
A partner must source work for everyone in the business – not just themselves.
- Can they talk the talk AND walk the walk?
They might have technical excellence but they have to communicate well, too.
- Can they seize the initiative?
You need someone who can spot opportunities and capitalise on them.
- Do they put the client first?
They must believe this and genuinely do it.
- 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.
- Do they have business acumen?
They should be able to take a holistic view of the business and the marketplace before reaching commercial decisions.
- Are they authentic?
An individual’s authenticity reflects directly on the reputation of your firm.
- 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.