When it comes to choosing a business partner, you must be savvy with your approach. Nothing feels worse than working with a bad business partner that does not share the same goals and visions you have. If you wish to succeed as an entrepreneur, then you have to surround yourself with the right people. The problem is that sometimes people don’t know they’re working with a bad business partner until it’s too late. Here are 7 telltale signs that indicate your business partnership is in trouble.
1. They are not solution-oriented
One of the most common signs of a terrible business partner is when they have more problems than solutions. Sure, everyone needs to vent from time to time, but if that’s all they do and they’re not being proactive at all, that’s definitely a red flag. Try to communicate with your business partner about this and see if they are willing to change their mindset. If not, then maybe it’s time to consider your options.
2. They have too many skeletons in the closet
Even the savviest entrepreneurs make mistakes — we are all human after all. But if your business partner has a long, poor credit history or is constantly being harassed by debt collectors, that’s a major cause of concern. Your business partner should openly disclose any financial problems or past business failures or successes to you. Financial setbacks don’t make a person a failure; it’s the inability to learn from those mistakes that do.
3. You don’t share the same values
It’s tough to find someone whose values are right in line with yours. While you don’t have to have the same exact beliefs, you do have to be on the same page. Think of different values and perspectives as a yin and yang approach where you complement each other perfectly. The difference only becomes a problem when you rarely agree on things and you find yourself questioning your own values.
If you find yourself fighting over things like expenses and creditors, or if one person wants to accept a lot of technical work while the other is more inclined towards money, that can spell disaster for your partnership. A shared vision is important as it will help you reach your goals much faster. Being too far apart on your perspectives makes entrepreneurship ten times harder as you’ll end up dealing with arguments instead of making profits.
4. They’re not willing to sign a partnership agreement
Partnerships are difficult at the best of times, so partnership agreements are crucial to forming successful business relations. They provide a roadmap for a partnership and are useful for determining whether or not you’re working with a good business partner. Your agreement determines the roles as the company grows and what happens when it becomes successful; it also maps out an exit strategy should the partnership go South, helping you to answer the question of how to move forward from a bad business partner.
If your business partner is unwilling to agree to a partnership agreement, it could mean that they’re hiding something or that they’re already looking for a way out. Neither of these is good news for your business and you should consider them as a sign of a bad business partner.
5. They don’t communicate with you
Lack of communication is what leads to misunderstandings and poor decision making. Your business partner should openly discuss their thoughts and suggestions so that you can make concrete decisions together. Even simple things like responding to phone calls and emails should all be done promptly as it’s not a good idea to keep you waiting for a response. If your business partner can’t communicate with you, it’s highly likely they have other communication issues as well. The last thing you want is for a bad business partner to communicate poorly with customers and affect your business on a much larger scale.
6. You have a wide disparity in terms of skill
You don’t need to have the same skills as your business partner – in fact, you should have a diverse set of skills. One person might excel in finance while the other is more experienced in marketing. One person might be the creative type while the other is an operations wizard. All of these can create a unique synergy that can help your company grow. It’s not the diversity of skill set that becomes a problem, it’s the disparity of skill that will rear its ugly head. If your partner lacks skill and expertise in major areas (i.e. finance, marketing, and risk analysis), you may be working with a bad business partner.
7. You are doing most of the work
You can tell a lot about a person just by their work ethic. This is especially true in entrepreneurship where you will need to invest plenty of time to make things work. Your business partner does not have to be a workaholic, but if you’re putting in 12 hours a day while they catch the sun on the Gold Coast, that’s not a good sign. Productivity is key to a successful business partnership and if you find yourself picking up the slack frequently, then you need to find a new business partner.