Finding The Right Partner
When you struck out on your own and started your rep firm you had to decide just how large you wanted to firm to be. Many people just strike out on their own and go solo for a while. After a time once the company has successfully launched they might want to find an appropriate partner to help them grow the firm. Then there are those who started their rep firm by joining forces with one or two other people. But either way, finding a partner is a tricky endeavor one that has to be undertaken very carefully
Many of the larger firms will hire sales people and treat them as any company would treat employees rather than partners and there is nothing wrong with that. But today we are going to talk about partners and leave the hiring of employees for your firm for another day.
So how do you find these partners? What are the credentials you are looking for in a partner? What do you want and expect from a partner and what do you expect that partner to bring to the company? These are all questions that you must ask yourself even before beginning your search for a likely partner.
Here are seven great ways to find the right partner, one that will help you grow.
- What can a partner bring to the party? Why do you want a new partner in the first place? Is it to grow your firm by getting more customers, customers that the right partner can bring? Is it so that you will have someone to share ideas with? Or is it someone to share and merge networks with? Maybe you are looking for a partner who will bring some much-needed cash in the company. Whatever the reason be sure of what you want in a partner, it will make it much easier to find him or her.
- Chemistry: You should have the right chemistry. Selecting a new partner is quite like choosing a spouse and getting married because in a sense getting married is precisely what you’re doing. You must like this person enough to get along with her. If you don’t really like the person, then don’t collaborate with him because it will never get better. Don’t think that the person will change once he is a partner, au contraire mon frere. Once he is a partner he will not change and you can get stuck working with some you cannot stand.
- Customers please: Does the person come with his own set of customers and, probably more important, lines; products and services that complement the products and services you are now selling? Is what this person is bringing to the company going to make it better and bigger than either of you could have done alone?
- Hard working: is this new partner hard working? Is he as hard working as you are? Watching someone work 30 hours a week while you are working 80 hours a week and then splitting the money equally is not my idea of fun and it shouldn’t be yours either. Make sure that this prospective partner has the same work-ethic that you have.
- Honest, credible, reliable, and dependable: Yes, she must be these things, not to mention having the same moral compass, values, and ethics that you have. The person you choose as a partner must share your values. Their way of doing business must match with yours otherwise there’ll be big trouble in River City.
- Does this person share your same growth vision? Do you want to keep the firm relatively small while he is looking at creating a multi-territorial firm? Do they like to keep a certain amount of money in the bank as a buffer for a rainy day? Or do they like to see what happens and use up the money as soon as it comes in. This one will kill you in you are not in-sync.
- Is the prospective partner as well versed in your industry as you are…or are you planning to teach him the ropes? This is a dangerous game to play. Your partner should be as experienced in sales as you are. Unless, and this an important—unless you are partnering so that he can bring in an entirely new line of products addressing an entirely new but related marketplace. Such as when a person who has spent his entire career d in contract assembly decides to partner with someone who has career-long experience in the bare board industry, then you can really have something bigger than the both of you once you develop your partnership.
And of course, there is one more (under promise and over deliver), you must make sure that you trust the person you’re partnering with. I mean trust this person with your life…because that in the end is really what you’re doing. It’s simple: never partner with a person you cannot trust and that’s only common sense.