Having a partner creates a complicated mix of interpersonal and business issues, and both need to be managed for it to work. Here are some ideas to think about when you consider a business partner.

If your main interest is having someone to brainstorm with and to help your business advance further, there may be other alternatives beside a partner. A consultant or coach may fill that position. Therefore, you have an advantage of a committed mind but you would still have the final say.

Also, if you need more capital right now, there may be other options besides giving away your hard-earned equity. Debit is preferred to equity, unless your partner can add tremendous amounts of value to your business. If an equity partner can open a new market, tackle the responsibility or provide valuable resources, it may be worth it.

You should only come to a decision after following sound logic and reasoning. Watch out if you just want to give responsibility on anyone who will go with it.

The concept of a partnership should be understood in your own mind first. Then you’ll see the qualities and assets a potential partner would bring to the table. A partnership is a long-term contract, so think far ahead as to whether or not you’re ready for that type of commitment.
If you think a partner is right for you, you must choose wisely. Here is an angle I would work from.

Know your strengths
Design a job description for yourself first. Plan it to make sure you’re doing what you do best. You want a partner with similar skills and insight. Find out what role your partner will play in the business. Remember a partnership doesn’t have to be 50/50…

Know your values
Whether or not your partner fills the responsibilities of a team member, he or she will impact the image of the company inside and out. If dedication, honesty and persistence are important qualities, set standards in advance for how you discover these traits in any individual you are considering.

Let all your people know what you are looking for. Associates, clients, suppliers and others may bring a referral, but be cautious and use good judgment when thinking about letting others know.

Stay positive
You may find someone who is ready to work but doesn’t have the cash to invest. You may also find a partner who doesn’t want to work but has the cash. Finding the right partner for your business can be difficult. Stay positive in what makes sense for you and your business.

Learn about your partner
Check their credit history and references, even if you already know them. This is very important if the person becomes an equity partner. Ask questions to see if the person’s motivation, persistence and ability to be self-made are clear. You want to hand over responsibility without worry, knowing there’s an experienced person getting the job done.

The hard thing is to find the right person as soon as possible. Before coming to a final decision it’s a good idea to try the candidate out on a trial basis. There are plenty of examples when business partners are not a perfect fit.

Whatever conclusion you come to, make sure you put everything in writing with the help of your lawyer.

Following these steps will guarantee your partnership is off to a running start and on solid ground to grow a healthy and profitable business.