Beginner’s Guide to Finding the Right Business Partner

bad business partner

Finding the right business partner isn’t easy. I have been an entrepreneur for about 8 years and I have been through my fair share of business partners. And although I have been blessed with having some great partners, I have also had a few that didn’t work out.

The business partners that didn’t work out weren’t necessarily bad guys and they didn’t do anything wrong, but for one reason or another things just didn’t work out.

Now before I go into finding the right business partner, I want to break down some reasons on why you should have a business partner:

  • Manpower – hiring employees is a great way to get more things done, but when your business isn’t making much money it can be hard to afford talented people. If you have a business partner you can get a lot more work done without worrying about paying a high priced employee.
  • Divide and conquer – it’s hard to do everything. One of the best things about having a business partner is that you guys can split up tasks and not worry about every aspect of your business. Plus you will be able to specialize on certain tasks, which will make you more efficient.
  • Motivate – as an entrepreneur you’ll experience a lot of ups and downs. Sometimes things will be going great and other times they won’t. By having a partner you can motivate each other to stay on top of things.
  • Ideas aren’t a dime a dozen – when you think of something cool and want to bounce it off of someone, what better person to do so with then your business partner? And if you can’t come up with any ideas, you can always ask your partner to help you brainstorm.
  • Network, network, and network – you can never have a big enough network. If you have a business partner not only can you tap into your network, but also you can reach into his or hers.

Now that you know why you need a partner here are some things to you should know about finding the right one.

A business partnership is like a marriage

Before you pick one, you need to really understand that it is like a marriage. Once you enter into a partnership you’ll realize that things won’t be perfect and you will get into fights.

Don’t worry this is natural. Fights are typically good because they will help you progress and move forward. Just make sure your fights aren’t physical and filled with emotions. Both of you have to be logical.

And don’t expect to break off a partnership when things aren’t going well. You have to work through things because a divorce can be detrimental to your business.

Don’t put too many cooks in kitchen

Time has proven that the ideal number of partners to have in a business is 2 (one of them being you). You could have 3, but 4 is typically pushing the boundaries. If you have too many cooks in the kitchen you’ll notice that you will waste too much time making decisions and bickering over small things.

From my personal experiences I have always found that the ideally number of business partners to have is 2 (one of them being you). When there are more partners things can still work out, but you don’t really need all of them. You can typically hire employees to fill the voids in your company.

Never stop looking

You won’t know where you are going to find the right business partner, so don’t stop looking. For example, I have been to hundreds of trade shows and networking events, but I ended up finding my business partner through my sister.

In general a few good places to find partners are:

  • Local networking events (you don’t want someone that lives far away from you)
  • Industry events
  • Friends and family
  • College (if you are still in school)

Don’t jump the gun

Once you feel that you have met the right person, don’t get ahead of yourself by trying to get into bed with them. Before you make them your partner you need to get to know them.

In addition to that you need to get to know their family if they have one. Not only can their spouse affect your partnership, but their parents and siblings could too.

Typically if you don’t know someone for at least 6 months you shouldn’t jump into a partnership. There is nothing wrong with waiting because you can’t really get to know a person in just a few months.

Set expectations from day 1

Before you seal the deal you have to set the right expectations. All of my business partners that worked out did so because we both set the right expectations from day 1.

You have to know what each of you are going to do before your partnership even starts. This way if one of you doesn’t do what you are supposed to do, you can get each other back into line.

One thing to note is that your partner’s duties will change over time so on a monthly if not weekly basis you should check with him or her to make sure that you know what each person is doing.

You aren’t doing this to babysit each other, but you are doing this so that you don’t step on each others feet. Knowing what each person is doing will also allow you to provide each other with help if you guys need it.

Seal the deal

Now it’s time to seal the deal. You could do so with a handshake, but the best way to do this is through a lawyer. Make sure that both of your names are on the LLC or incorporation. This way each partner clearly has an understanding of what percentage of the company they own.

If you don’t create an incorporation or LLC you could run into problems later on. And these problems typically won’t arise early on, but they will arise when the company starts doing well.


Not only does it take time to find the right business partner, but also you’ll pick a few bad ones along the way. Don’t get discouraged by this because it happens to the best of us.

Just keep your head up and keep on moving forward. If you never try to find a good business partner your business will never flourish.

As one of my friends explained to me, his current business will never be worth 38 million dollars like his past company. It isn’t because his current business idea isn’t a good and it clearly isn’t related to money, but it is because he doesn’t have a business partner.

Update: As Scott mentioned below, you want to make sure that your business partner’s shares vest over time. This way, if your partner decides to quit working with you after a few months, he or she won’t be able to walk away with half of your company.

<em><strong>P.S.</strong> Whether you have a business partner or are working solo, if you need help boosting your business,<a href=””>click here</a>.</em>


  1. Paul Stamatiou :

    Great post Neil. I found my co-founder 2 years ago at a local networking event – Atlanta Startup Weekend 2007. I didn’t know he was going to be a long-time co-founder at the time. Every few weeks in the early days we would meet up and continue working… then I graduated and began working on it full-time and we would chat online daily via our private Campfire about work, often meet on the weekends and it just naturally turned into a nice situation over time. He’s a more experienced backend programmer than myself (I stay more in front-end and design) and he brings past startup experience to the table and can help with finance stuff, so it’s a great fit.

    • Well that’s perfect, a great partnership always has 2 people whom can bring different things to the table… that makes the process flow a lot more smoother.

  2. scott edward walker :

    Neil, another great post. As a corporate lawyer for 15+ years, I just wanted to make one quick comment from the legal side: impose reasonable vesting restrictions on the equity issued to any business partner. Indeed, as I discuss in a relatively recent post (see, it would be inherently unfair for your partner to quit the venture after a few weeks or months, but still be permitted to keep all of his equity. Many thanks, Scott

  3. Hi Neal,

    Great post!

    I’m juststarting a new project (6 months now) with 2 partners.
    You mentioned friends and family as potentials.
    Are these good options?

  4. Nathan J. Brauer :

    This is such awesome timing. I literally had someone begging me to be my partner yesterday. He barely even knows me and he lives on the other side of the country. I even told him the marriage analogy. But he kept arguing with me (for hours) saying that if he’s ready, I should be ready and kept assuming what my feelings were when I was telling him straight out what my reasoning was. He wanted a partnership without the work it takes to get to a partnership. I told him to draft me a proposal and he said (basically) that he didn’t want to spend the time on a proposal just to be rejected. Okay, well then: Willing to take risks? [Fail], Willing to work hard in the face of no income? [Fail], Steady in thought and action? [Fail] I have no doubt that he’d be a good employee, but no way he would make a great partner.

    Neil, you should also mention that having a business plan is crucial. Sure, it can work without one (and business plans usually get rewritten many times after you start) but your chances for success are much, much higher when you have one. Your business plan illustrates a unified mission and vision between each partner and is a way to be overly clear with each other on expectations, goals, and direction of the company.

    • Wow, that’s an interesting story… having your partner across the world may not be a good move, so I think you’ve made the right decision.

  5. I started my business January this year with my business partner who is my friend and I know him for over 10 years.
    And I must say it is really important to set expectations!

    Another strategy we use to get more manpower, motivation, ideas and (small) network is to use interns. They are cheap, young, full of ideas and it is fun to work with them.

    • That’s fantastic… that type of strategy will allow you to focus more on marketing and getting yourself out there.

  6. HOBO(nickname) :

    Haven’t you written a book till-date???

  7. You are right Neil. It is much easier when you are starting a business with a business partner, but as you said, you have to know that person for a long time, and by this I mean even years. You have to feel that both of you are sharing the same ideas, are thinking the same way and you have to complete each other. Just as you said: like a marriage. You just can’t have an idea, let’s say you don’t have the money to apply that idea and talk with somebody who has the money and then start a business together. In most cases this will not work. Eventually someone will break off and go on their own.

    • Choosing a partner is a very crucial process that you shouldn’t take likely. You should choose a partner like a casting director chooses an actor. Have a person audition for the part.

  8. Thanks for sharing this information. I was really planning of having a partner in my business coz I cannot manage it myself anymore. Your advice helps me a lot.

  9. Well till now I am working alone and I do not think about business partner . May be later I will think about it. After all nice guideline. Thank you.

    • It does depend on what you’re planning on doing, but if what you have going on has potential, than it maybe the right thing for you to do.

  10. marcus@how to make money online :

    Finding the best business partner is like finding a a mate. Their are a lot of appealing people out their but some are more suitable for you than others.

    • You should create some kind of check list of things you want in a partner and just focus on finding someone who fits that criteria.

  11. Partnership though seems very lucrative has its drawbacks too. Infact plenty of them.

  12. Brian Armstrong :

    Hey Neil,

    Curious, do you share 50/50 with business partners or give them a smaller equity stake? 50/50 seems the most fair but in my experience causes problems because:

    1. Every decision has to now go through 2 people so you’re slower (instead of replying ‘yes’ to an email you have to say ‘i’ll chat with my co-founder and get back to you’)

    2. If you ever can’t agree on something, the company is at a stand still.

    How do you solve this? Thanks!

    • 50/50 is the only way a partnership would work out… anything else will result in arguments and other bad scenarios.

  13. well said Neil, your personal network is the best place to find business partners in my opinion, that’s something I learned directly from you and have benefited greatly by finding the right business partners that complement our business. Finding the right business partners can make or break the business, thanks for the informative post.

    • Exactly Deep, well put. Sometimes its worth you taking the time to find the right person.

      • Web Design LA :

        That’s true Neil. And personally I think you should always take maximum time to think and know about that person whom you are gonna partner so that you will not feel that if this I should have checked before. Right Neil.?

  14. Great stuff. To this day I’ve only been in the situation of having potential business partners. One of those was a close friend who had a genuinely great idea, I did 90% of the work and then found something that did a similar thing (keeping it vague) and my friend didn’t want to push the project so left. Another is someone from the internet, and we’re still working on setting up a company there, which I’m really excited about. The last one is a client, who wants to set up an auction site and I’m really worried. I’ve asked him to do several things and he is yet to sort it all out…

    I think I might jump ship of the last one, do the first project by myself because I can handle it and I’m going to stick with the one in the middle – it could be a keeper.

    • Yeah, that’s usually a very common problem that tends to happen with partnerships… it’s something you two need to fix ahead of time.

  15. Manisha Shahane :

    Hey Neil, I really like this post and it is also timely. I was approached by someone in a “partnering” context. After taking many months to get to know each other, I felt pretty good. Yet, when the deal was presented, I found that it was not really the kind of thing that felt like a partnership to me after all. I was quite disappointed by the red flags before me; I didn’t want to see them. But, eventually, I declined the proposal. The lesson for me, I think, is to carry out serious due diligence and/ or background check the moment I’m approached (or maybe after a couple of conversations) instead of waiting until the deal is before me. Maybe I gave too much benefit of the doubt in a business where there are many people who set up deals that take advantage of a certain situation? How to find the balance?

    On the other hand, here is a more positive situation to which your post also applies: My husband recently started a company based on his invention. As a scientist & researcher/professor, he is new to business, but he is learning. There are two other people involved (one experienced in raising money & in making business deals; the other experienced in the intersection of science & business) and they are presently having discussions about co-founding & distributing equity. One of the persons is the mother of my stepson’s friend and we have known her for a few years. The other person is newer to the relationship. As such, I really appreciate the comment regarding the vesting of shares over time, as well as the reminder that disagreements & misunderstandings are bound to take place – just as in a marriage (and we can relate to that!). So the test of the partnership is in how each party handles these disagreements.

    Excellent points. I will share this article with him, too. I think it may help him feel confident about some aspects of the partnership and also recognize the pitfalls that can arise down the road in other areas, so that he can try his best to avert them now. Thank you!

  16. Carlos Navarro :

    Good fundamental advice. Although, it’s amazing how many horror stories I’ve heard of people not following these fundamentals. I really appreciate your conversational writing style!

    • Well that’s because people are usually too quick to jump the gun on finding the right partner… however, even with that said, failing it’s part of the process

  17. Ive never had much luck with partners. I always do better alone.

    • Well having the right partner will help you drastically… it took me a few partners before I found the right person… it’s part of the process.

  18. When I look at partnering with all its advantages laid out, it’s quite appealing ( especially the part about ‘divide and conquer’) . However, I feel there could be a lot of time wasted in waiting for or searching for the right person, and they might still end up disappointing you, putting you right back in square one… what do you say to this ‘fear’ Neil..? Thank you for the great post.

    • Fear of failure… i say that it is very normal. Sometimes you’ll have to go through a few people before you find the right person. It’s about consistency.

      • It’s still time-consuming; like a long screening process but I guess the right person will be worth the wait. Now I see why you said it’s like looking for a marriage partner; one has to be very careful or they might end up losing a lot in the process. Thanks Neil, great advice as always

        • That’s exactly why it’s so important to choose your partner carefully. The last thing you want is someone you may divorce.

  19. Health Insurance :

    Great post. I have gone through a bad partnership a few years ago and it is nice to hear that I am not alone.

    • Oh yah…. you have a complete society of people who share your pain. Don’t give up because finding the right person will help you extensively.

      • Prostate Problems :

        It’s true, building relationships with business partners has very little to do with being ‘popular.’ What it really has to do with is being who YOU choose to be–happy, healthy, wealthy, generous; without apologizing.

  20. Health Insurance :

    I had a partner in the begining years of my business and I prefer to work without one. Unless they are in on the Idea from the beginning its hard to keep them bought into your Idea.

    Great post.


    • Well I think you’re making a mistake because you let one bad experience taint your water. Just have a stronger selection process with the person you find next.

  21. Great post. its hard to keep someone bought into an Idea. I had a partner in the beginnig stages and it did not go well

    • Well you and most other people Health are in the same boat. But like I’ve telling others that have been burned, don’t let it be the reason why you stop looking for partnerships again. They can allow a business to soar much quicker.

  22. I don’t think I will ever work with a partner again.

    • Don’t let that one experience screw up you whole opinion on partnerships. You’ve got to give it another chance, just have a better screening process.

  23. Prostate Problems :

    The first thing you need to ask yourself is whether you really need a business partner? If the answer is a resounding yes, then consider the following carefully: by taking on a partner you are in fact inviting a complete stranger into your life and entrusting them to share the closest details of your finances and your trust. You are handing over the keys to your business to that person. You are entering into a legal and binding agreement that holds far reaching consequences for yourself, your business and your life.

    • This is exactly why I said that is better to know that person for a long time. It is not very wise to start a business with somebody you don’t know to well because you have no idea what to expect.

      • Prostate Problems :

        It doesn’t matter who you were or where you came from, what matters is where you are going. When in business, you know what you want and you will do whatever it takes to get there, that is very inspiring to your new business partners.

      • It’s definitely not a good idea to choose someone who’s far away or out of the country. Especially if you’re trusting them with financial info.

    • That’s very true… making the decision to have a partner in the first place is hard enough, which is why you need to interview several before you make the decision.

  24. Michele Mattia :

    Great article! I can’t stress enough the importance of setting partner expectations and the partnership agreement solidified. I owned a successful technology consulting firm in Manhattan for close to 12 years, and while we were VERY fortunate to hit the ground running from day one, we didn’t devote the time we should in the early stages to really flesh out our expectations, agreement, policies, etc. We felt so fortunate with the amount of client contracts and business we received immediately, we thought everything else would work itself out in time. Rookie mistake. It caused a lot of friction and set the course for years of uneven participation and responsibility which could have been avoided. Lesson learned!

    • Hey Michele, that usually happens… Especially when it seems like everything is okay, it can drastically get worse. The water is calm before the storm. Keep yourself on your toes.

  25. home business :

    This is an awsome article, no kidding. Great comments that ad value as well, thanks for the transparency, neil and commenters. I’m working on a 3 way partnership on a grocery store, its not going like I thought. Core values are big and it DOES take a while to get to know someone. In my case I’ve gotten a preview which is helping me make a more successful decision.


    Joe @ home business ideas

    • Partnerships are VERY difficult as is… so if you have 3 people in the mix, it becomes even more challenging. It’s always best to be able to “Marry” someone per say, before you partner up with them.

      • The “marry” thing came up as a piece of advice from one partner. It doesn’t work. We wouldn’t marry. I’m looking for another option where I have a partnership with the other partner who brings to the table: Cash, Property, Successful Biz Experience, GREAT leadership philosophy< Which he has exhibited BEFORE the partership came into view, and he also has an appreciation for the work I've done as he understands the achievement in it, whereas the other partner simply doesn't have the life experience or insight to appreciate the value I add. He is more interested in fair, and I don't think the envirionment this creates is conducive to creating wealth or success.

        I'm gonna step back from being the driver or catalyst, which is my strength, and see how things transpire.

        We will see.

        • Look, when looking for the right partner, shop around so to speak. You’re first choice doesn’t have the be the winner.

  26. Hey Neil,

    Great post! I have yet to get a business partner for my business because I think I am doing a fairly good job managing the business alone.

    I have always gotten the feeling that more than 1 person making the business decisions will cause problems. I have yet to see how things work out when businesses have more than 1 owner.

    But your points make sense. Getting more partners will reduce the risk and get more people to work on your business.

    • Maybe you will reach a point at which you just can’t do it yourself anymore or you need somebody else in order to grow the business even more. That is the moment when you have to start searching for the right business partner.

      • Any business that reaches a potential level of success will have that issue. It’s really a good problem to have you know. Just choose that person wisely.

    • Imagine how someone with 5 or 6 partners does… it sounds almost ridiculous. However, having 1 or 2 partners is probably going to be your best bet, so long as you choose the right people to get involved with.

  27. The Pro Designer :

    Its always hard to find someone you can put trust, but it can certainly be done. I am based in Australia and have found a quality partner in US to market a specific service. He specialized in his field and I am the designer. We have a really great mutual relationship and over time things will only get bigger I am sure.

    Great post again Neil, you really seem to be able to come through with the goods every time…

    • That’s great, but how are you guys dealing with financial issues. It maybe a better idea to find someone in your city… somewhere you can drive to. Unless you personally know the person… then it’s a different story.

      • The Pro Designer :

        I didn’t know this guy at all, he actually approached me. To be honest financial issues haven’t been a problem to date. We have a solid agreement in place, stating ownership and fees for services that we do, to date all is running really well.
        But I guess down the track if something goes wrong, Then I guess it would be hard to work things out. But lets hope it doesn’t come to that.

  28. I trust my family so I would propably take them as my business partners.

    • Sometimes it’s a good idea, but most of the time it’s not. Try staying away from family partners because it has a huge chance of leading you into a problem.

  29. Great info Neil!

    Having come from an entrepreneurial family I got to see first-hand what great business partnerships look like.

    Just curious, do you socialize with your partner outside of “work” or do you keep work and social separate to maintain objectivity?

    • You should definitely create a friendship with your business partners that allow you to have a relationship both in and outside of work.

  30. What’s important is that you interview several different people before you make your decision. Like a marriage, you don’t want someone you’ll end up divorcing.

  31. lung cancer prognosis :

    frankly speaking to find a good business partner, “trust” is the keyword. Without that you won’t gain people respect and want to partner with you…

    • You need more than a gut feeling of trust… you’ll want some kind of powerful track record too (ideally of course).

  32. vehicle insurance quotes :

    Sometimes friends can become good business partner, that will be part of the test for a true friendship in my mind

    • It’s more than just a friendship, it’s a strong business relationship. You’ll have fights and you’ll need confrontation, so it’s not the friendship that counts, it’s how you two can interact with each other.

  33. setting goals is i think an important but often over looked aspect of starting a business. a simple writing down of some realistic and achievable goals that you aspect from yourself and the partner to achieve will help you go a long way.

    • More importantly than goals is creating a business plan or model. You need to know where you’re going and how your going get there. Look at your plan every single day to re remind you of the tasks at hand.

  34. PCB Layout Services :

    You must open the door yourself, don’t wait for others to open it for you!

  35. Maybe I’m not a good teamplayer when it comes to my own business – but I never found a good business partner (and I had several).

    • Well then the truth is that you should have put a better effort in your screening process than anything else. Choosing a partner is like holding an audition. You’ll go through many before you find the right one.

  36. PCB Layout Services :

    Find a business partner with expert in different skill set, you can focus on things that you are expert on.

    • You make a good point. Each business partner should have a trait the other one isn’t all that great in. This allows the partnership to be strong and sturdy.

  37. Had my share of business partners myself and totally agree with you Neil. Its similarity with marriage is uncanny.. 🙂

  38. Mauritius Resto :

    That is absolutely golden advice from you Neil. The simplicity with which you explain these stuffs is awesome. Well, I have a friend who has a business partner. His company is made up of 2 partners, one being himself and things are going rather well for him. You are completely right when you say that a business can have maximum three partners but two is just the exact amount.

    • Yes because having 3 just ends up being incredibly confusing. Having strategic investors or partnerships is a whole other animal… that’s where you can bring in several people.

  39. Business it tough dont make a decision based on frendship do it what is best for making you money and thus the business itself.

  40. Sridhar Machani :

    Agree to what you said. Would you rather work alone than work with non-committal friends? I chose to work alone because I don’t want to burden my relations with something I’m passionate about, but not necessarily others.
    Having said that, I’ve a business idea and I know I’ll start it alone. But, as you said, if I’ve the right partner(s), things will fall in place quicker and better. Are you game for listening to the idea and pitching in to the extent you can/like? No kidding!

    • Sometimes you may think that by starting alone your doing a better job… but the truth of the matter is that by being alone, you’ll have many weakness that stunt your growth potential. You need someone who can bring strength to the relationship.

  41. I agre with “You need someone who can bring strength to the relationship” but what if there noone you can trust and go into business with.What to do then.

    • You always have certain weaknesses, so you always should find someone who’s the opposite and has your weaknesses as your strengths.

  42. I am agree with the points partnership like a marriage. Because It may be to do the things cooperation, share what you thinks in mind, to make improvement in business. The action plan to achieve the success road ways.

  43. Thank you for the guide, I have my share of so many bad business partners. What I hate the most is when they are all talk, when it comes down to being serious (all the talk turns out to be b.s) Also another bad experience I had was that my business partner was too lazy, he would never get anything done.

  44. Years ago, I heard that the typical business partnership in America lasts only 18 months. Is that true? Has it changed?


    • It’s very slim Drew… in fact it gets worse and worse as more and more people get into their own “business”

  45. Textbook Rental :

    Sometimes I think business partners are more complicated than marriages because as many people that I can hang out with an have a good time time but would never work or trust with my future, but maybe I’m jaded.

    • Avoid having too much of a friendship with your business partners and keep it as much “work” as possible.

      • Textbook Rental :

        Its good advice, but often people want to bring their friends with them and it causes great pain later when you have to dump them. Its always good to remember you become who you hang around.

        • The people you surround yourself with the most are the type of people you become. Lay down with dogs and you’ll come up with fleas.

  46. I would also suggest that you and your attorney build a clear exit strategy into the partnership agreement as well. This gives everyone involved a mutually agreed upon process in regards to exiting the partnership. The first general partnership I was involved in did not have this and it got a bit complicated when a partner wanted to leave.

    • I agree, if it’s not on paper, it’s not a good idea. There are too many things that can happen that can become disastrous… all because it was written down.

  47. I think TRUST is one of the most important thing one needs to find in a business partner. If one does not trust the other, then this marriage wont last for long. It will end up affecting the business in a negative way.

    • Trust is huge, but it’s not only that. You need to find someone who has what you don’t . That is the only way you’ll be able to take a business to the next level. Like the saying goes, 2 heads are better than 1.

  48. Jay Jalodomisa :

    Hey Neil,

    You gave some great tips but is a business partner NECESSARY?

    You can definitely do it alone, many great business people have.

    But would you say it’s an option to have a business partner or a necessity?

    I find that I work better alone… just me though 🙂

    Jay Jalodomisa

    • If you really have a great idea that you’d like to implement that’s not just a blog with ads, you really may want to consider getting setup with someone who has talent that you don’t.

  49. Sağlık haberleri :

    This is such awesome timing. I literally had someone begging me to be my partner yesterday.

    Thank you.

  50. Hımm, Business it tough dont make a decision based on frendship do it what is best for making you money and thus the business itself?

  51. mma pound for pound :

    This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing this great article! That is very interesting Smile I love reading and I am always searching for informative information like this! thank’s neil

  52. You know what… never say never… you just haven’t found the right person YET. You need to keep at it and don’t stop.

  53. Yes… so unless you feel like you can “marry” your businsess partner, don’t create a partnership.

  54. Hands down, one of the best & most informative articles I’ve ever read. I was so captivated, that I even read each of 121 comments so far. Thank you Neil!

  55. bathroom subway tile :

    don’t rush yourself to find a business partner, better careful rather than sorry later…

    • Yes, interview several different people and choose the one you feel MOST comfortable with, not the ones you have doubts about.

  56. metal roof colors :

    Yes, this is exactly what we should “screen” through before a “marriage” happening…

  57. Of all the aspects of doing a business, I find this part the toughest. Finding the right business partner and then striking a chord with him/her can be a pain. One of most frequent issues that come up when you are in a very small start-up is, “I do not think my partner is working as hard as I am”.

    • exactly…. that’s why you need to interview people and then go in it 50/50 with both of you having “skin in the game” Don’t just choose the first person you come across.

  58. kitchen subway tile :

    sometimes don’t even think about comparison between how much you did versus your partner, as long as almost “equal” work, I say is a good partnership. 🙂

  59. Great Article!

    I started my business in Engineering Design 2.5 Years back. This was after 25 Years of my Employment. I am still alone and looking for a good partner . I also feel alone, it will be difficult to grow the organisation for the reasons you mentioned.


  60. thanks for your advice but if just can help me finding some one intrested to be my business partner : tour guides in the fiji ilands :treck in the interior of vanua levu going through villages and also it is a new type of business here in this side where i live thanks

    • You know it’s difficult, so don’t just choose the first one that makes sense to you. Try to do research and then interview a few people who you think would be a good fit.

  61. Famous entrepreneurs :

    The terms enterprise, entrepreneurship and small business are frequently used in the context of education and small business formation. Particular countries have preference for the use of the terms in specific circumstances, for example, entrepreneurship is more common in the USA and Canada, while enterprise is more often used in the UK and Australia. Because the terms are often used interchangeably, there is confusion about their exact meaning. In Australia, the term entrepreneur has negative connotations not related to the true meaning of the word.

  62. kitchen subway tile :

    Thanks for the information. If you think you can survive alone, it might be good also. Unless you wanted to grow your business, then a good partner is needed.

  63. Right business partnership may be only if this relationship based on mutually beneficial!

    • It’s very difficult to create a powerful relationship, but once you do, you’ll have one amazing ride.

  64. Hey Neil,

    I too have run into this. I started my first start up when I was 21 and naively picked two of my friends. One partner turned out above and beyond amazing. We work 40 or 50 hours straight and get tons of stuff done and always come up with solutions and get things done QUICK. Hell he answers the phone at 4 in the morning if something needs to get done. The other business partner did not turn out well. He couldn’t do things he was supposed to do and he wasn’t there a lot. I now know that before I bring someone into a Company, they need to be able to do everything I expect them to do, and they need to be aware of those things as well as understand that I expect them to do those things. I also will tell them that if they are not capable of delivering on those things, their equity will deteriorate like… I will never make the same mistake again for my future Companies.

    But seriously, I don’t know many people like the good partner I have. Actually there aren’t any. Finding the perfect partner is tough. But it helps if the partner is extremely skilled in exactly what you need him or her to be able to do.

    I understand that if I bring in a partner and he isn’t capable of doing what I asked him, it’s my fault for not making sure of that. Since I understand that, I’m going to be god damn sure I pick the right person lol.

    • Well don’t worry, most people are guilty for making a mistake like that. Fortunately enough you were able to acknowledge your mistake quickly.

  65. I’m still learning from you, while I’m improving myself. I absolutely liked reading everything that is posted on your website.Keep the information coming. I loved it

  66. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn anything like this before. So nice to search out any individual with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thanks for starting this up. this web site is something that is wanted on the internet, someone with just a little originality. useful job for bringing one thing new to the web!

  67. Marion Mcniel :

    Aw, this was a very high quality post. In principle I would like to jot down like this too – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done.

  68. Even you are talking with your experiences of 2 partners, we have started our company with four partners (with me) and found some great help in difficult situations,
    * when one of my partner is doing wrong or not really doing his job well I can discuss with other partners and find a solution. Then we can explain him his faults and talk fairly.
    * Even one or two can not participate for special events, we have three or two left.
    * I think it depends on the bond between partners.

    • Yes… that’s very rare actually.. usually when you have 3-4 people in your partnership, it doesn’t go too well. Too many different minds clashing. But I digress, if it works, then more power to you 🙂

  69. Bouncy Castle Perth :

    Getting in to business is a really tough decission because you need to consider many things and not to forget the right business partner… It will be so hard to fall. Decide right!

  70. water distiller :

    A good business is composed of a good partner that knows how to handle every problem by using his mind and not just doing things for the sake of it… even without the heart… Select the right one.

  71. Jack Trusty :

    Thank you for your post it was very good and excuse for my english! I am still learning 🙂

  72. enterprise chat client :

    Hey Neil,

    I have to tell you that crazyegg is a very crazy product.

    Agreed when you say that business partnership is like a marriage and we should be careful in finding the right partner.

    Very nice article Neil.


  73. Thank for the article very informative.
    Thinking about starting a business event and marketing. I have a friend that I recently met and she has s ton of experience in event and I do have some experience in marketing. I really think that she will bring tremendous credibility to my company but I am trying to convince her to get on board. She is a little bit of the entrepreneurial field (fear of failure) so I am really trying to ease her into it. I don’t know how to approach that – I done all the work as far as business plan (that can be altered) and research but have not yet incorporate the business. If she gets on board will she be considered as a co-founder? Do you give 50/50 part in the business? How do you go about it

    • These are all decisions that you have to make on your own. Pricing structures and salaries vary between companies, I am sure you will choose what is right for you..

  74. Cameron Wallis :

    Very informative article. My “business partner” is actually a school friend who like me shares an interest in web design. I like him however because his knowledge does wider what we can do (I am pro on css and html but very rusty on php and flash (this is where he comes in)). Thanks for posting anyway 🙂

  75. Does Proactive Work :

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  77. Tramontina Cookware :

    Thank you for the nice post!

    I have been working on my own business for couple of years and eager to develop the scale of business by having a partner. But anyway, I am also scared to find one as these days, it is just not easy to build a partnership. I just don’t want to ruin everything I have built. But after reading your, I know that I must take a chance and step up if I want to see my business rapidly growing.

    Again, abundant thanks for the awakening!

  78. I’ve been thinking about some advice I got recently about “The Power of 2” and finding the right partner. I wish there were a website where I could go find some people seriously interested in partnering.

    Nice insight about being careful to not have too many partners.

  79. Kevin Quarry :

    It was great reading your post i am in the HVAC business in Florida and being thinking about a business partner to take it to the next level and to structure properly i am the contractor,would you sugest going for a Admin person are a person in the hvac field?

    • It really depends on what you need to make your business work. It is important to find a partner that has different strengths than you. Someone that can accomplish what you cannot or do not know how to do.

  80. Setting expectations with a new business partner means developing a written business agreement before the business starts. You can find partnership basics and a template for writing an agreement at

  81. Find Business Partners :

    Partnerships can be strategic also and be very profitable. Take a look at these example of strategic partnerships at

  82. Sidath Jayawickrama :

    I would like to export new fertilizer to Australia.If u can join with me send me a mail ( also if you have any proposal, please reply me

    Sidath Jayawickrama
    (Sri Lanka)

  83. Hi,

    I’ve found a new , very interesting and totally free website :

  84. Online Mastering :

    do it alone. i hate relying on other people. especially when it comes to MY money

  85. Another is someone from the internet, and we’re still working on setting up a company there, which I’m really excited about. The last one is a client, who wants to set up an auction site and I’m really worried.

  86. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard
    on. Any suggestions?

  87. Josphine Karnes :

    Very useful to know. that less is more, applies here, as the readers do not seem to be keen on spending much time of giving their personal data in the contact blocks.

  88. Hi Neil,

    How about the things you share with someone you are exploring as partner? Dos and Donts? How to start sharing your idea without sharing too much in case he or she is not the right partner? Any recommendations? Any potential partner would like to know what you’re proposing, but how to go about it without risking someone else steal your idea?

    • If your worried about a potential partner stealing your idea, that probably means they aren’t the right person for you. Think of partnerships as relationships, you find them throughout the journey of life. If you start to feel a connection and trust, you can begin to explore doing professional things together and allow it to evolve from there.

  89. Hi guys,

    Finding a co-founder is a real pain for many people. We’ve noticed this a while ago and developed a service designed to solve that exact problem. Particularly for entrepreneurs with no tech cofounder – obecto.

    Would love to hear feedback from people looking for their tech cofounder.

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