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Success Recipe: Business Partnerships Voodoo

Some of the best companies come from partnerships - but as in all relationships, it is best to do your research before making decisions. 

It's especially sad to hear the stories of founding teams that had truly amazing ideas but who fell apart on a personal level.

The proven best practices for business include:

Do your research
This is by far the most important item on the list – the one thing from which everything else will flow or won't. 
Business Partnership Success Depends on a Lot of Things 

Great business partners almost always have had a prior history of working with each other. The more closely they've worked together, the better. 

If you think you've found a promising person to pair up with but you don't have that kind of history – then get it. Use social networks; ask around for references and do a thorough background check. 

Work on small projects together, or at the very least, spend a lot of time together before you agree to do anything.

Agree on vision
Nothing derails a new venture like having business partners working at cross-purposes. So, it's crucial that co-founders agree on the vision--both their short-term understanding of the company's value proposition, and their long-term understanding of how they think the venture fits into the world.

Have hard talks about money
It's tempting when you start a new venture to skip some of the tough conversations. You're excited about the idea, and frankly you don't know whether you're starting the equivalent of Facebook or Friendster, so it can even seem counterproductive to get hung up on money. 

Some founders dodge the whole thing by just saying they'll split their equity, 50-50. Later on, they might change posts.

Decide who the real leader is
In almost every successful business partnership, there’s usually one visionary leader and one person who is more of a whiz at execution. They are the Big Idea Person and the Get Stuff Done Person. Both roles are absolutely crucial; a big idea without execution is worth very little. 

However, there has to be some recognition that when the partners disagree on something, that one founder has the tiebreaker. Understand each others' commitment: It's a great advantage not to have other commitments tugging at you when you launch a new venture.

Have compatible, vital skills
This is related to the decision about who the real leader is. A venture founded by two programmers isn't doomed, of course, any more than a company launched by two industry experts. However, if both business partners have the same skills, you're probably going to need to seek outside help. 

That can cost a lot, in terms of time, money, synergy, and lots of other assets that can be in short supply in a start-up.

Have compatible styles
You probably don't want two partners with the exact same leadership styles and personalities, but people who are compatible with each other. For example, who is the dreamer who likes to start late and work until 3 a.m.? 

Who is the motivated morning person who can handle emergency customer calls before sunrise? Who is the person who is particular about finances – and who is the one who has the natural charisma and sales ability? – Online Sources

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