What to look out for in a good business partner

Jul 10, 2018 Blog  Business Partner , Entrepreneur , SME



Entrepreneur and Heavy Chef’s founder Fred Roed, recently published a book called ‘Starting a Business in South Africa’.    He knows a thing or two about business and says that good business partners challenge each other, but only if both partners are able to recognise that, can the partnership be constructive.

He says in his book that his business closed down in 2003 and he was R1.3m in debt.  That same year, he founded a digital advertising company World Wide Creative with Mike Penn.  He later started Heavy Chef and says that “having Perk and later Louis Janse van Rensburg as business partners was an essential step towards the company’s success, particularly as each was able to complement the other”.

Characteristics to look for in a good business partner

A complementary skill set – evaluate your strenghs and weaknesses with regards to what your business needs are and partner with somebody who can be your “other half” in business.

Financial stability – it is important that both partners are financially stable in their own right.

Willingness to learn – good partners challenge each other.  Even though they provide moral and emotional  support, they will push each other’s buttons, and that is constructive.

Same work ethic –  partners have to feel that they are putting in the same amount of effort, time and resources in the business.  They also have to have a similar willingness to make the necessary sacrifices to ensure success.

Reliability – this is a must-have and it might be a good idea to have a ‘partnership contract term’ where you allow for a period of re-evaluation after a specified time as partners.

Resilience – things will probably be tough in the first three to five years of the startup journey and it is important to have mutual trust and ongoing support, for the partnership to survive those initial challenges.

Roed says that “a good partnership is built on constructive criticism.  For this reason, transparency in a partnership is essential:  it is the foundation for an open, mutually beneficial and healthy working relationship.

For more on Fred Roed’s book ‘Starting a Business in South Africa, click here.


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