Before you settle down with a business partner, consider these tips for business bliss. via @FastCompany
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How Finding A Business Partner Is Awfully Similar To Finding A Spouse

Before you settle down with a business partner, consider these tips for business bliss.

Just like marriage, it takes time to find the right business partner.

The terms "work husband/wife" are frequently used because marriage and business partnerships are extremely relatable. Maintaining those relationships involves ongoing attention, change, and reflection over time.

Here are a few top tips to consider before tying the business knot:


Whether it is experience in a specific field, a certain degree or acquired skill set, a flexible schedule, or an unshakeable work ethic, these attributes cannot be compromised. Once this parameter is outlined it is easier to narrow down your search.


This is where long-term happiness comes into play. Of course not everything has to align, but a majority of values and long-term goals should be similar in both personal and professional aspects.

While many professionals try to separate work and life, oftentimes the two blend together, just like how work carries over into personal relationships. Having said that, it’s imperative to take the time to find the right partner that can enable a company to grow, just as you would seek out a match to grow a relationship and or family with.


With so much at stake, a business relationship cannot exist without trust. Trust is the key to mutual respect and aids in strengthening the shared values of both partners.


Entrepreneurs should plan for the best, while preparing for the worst. When things get rough, relationships are tested. Similar to vows or a prenuptial agreement, there should be legal documentation stating all details from percentage of ownership, all the way down to who gets the stapler.

Don’t settle

The worst thing someone can do is marry out of fear of being alone. Entrepreneurs sometimes have the tendency to do the same; they hastily rush into a partnership hoping to solve any problems or generate new growth immediately. Steer clear of settling in a partnership. Don’t Settle. Be Selective.

Exit Strategy

Business partnerships, like marriages, can take a turn for the worse regardless of best intentions and forethought. Emotions can escalate when the stakes are high, and things can become complicated quickly.

Before choosing a partner, ensure that an outlined process or timeline is in place so that if the time comes to part ways and phase out a working relationship, you’re not ensnared in micro details or making emotional decisions as opposed to rational ones.

Barbie Adler is founder and president of Selective Search, North America’s leading matchmaking firm based in Chicago.

[Image: Flickr user Rory MacLeod]

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