Perhaps the fastest way you can boost your productivity and get more done in less time is by ‘partnering it out’. The common myth is that individuals start companies and it’s the solo entrepreneur who against all odds builds an incredible company. Because of this myth, many entrepreneurs believe that they must, do it on their own. This a dangerous narrative that’s somehow been instilled in most of us.
It’s dangerous to you because statistically, it’s false. The truth is, teams start companies.
Research out of MIT by Edward B. Roberts, shows that the bigger your team the higher your chances of success. Simply put:
More Founders = Better Odds of Success.
You can easily hamper your own success by trying to do everything yourself. By finding a partner, or team of partners, that have complimentary strengths and personalities you can dramatically increase your personal productivity and the growth of your company.
For example, if you’ve got an online solutions company and are very tech savvy but have no experience with sales, you may want to partner with someone who has experience and relationships in software sales. Conversely, if you’ve got the relationships needed to succeed in the niche you’re in but you don’t have the technical expertise, it maybe useful to partner with someone with those opposing expertise.
Now, admittedly, this is easier said than done. If you’ve identified an area of your business where you think you would benefit from a partner or partners, here’s some guidelines on how to find the right fit.
1. The Honesty Test
Getting a business partner has been likened to getting married. If you pick the wrong person you could live a miserable life and getting divorced could be VERY EXPENSIVE. You want to get this partnership right FIRST time. One of the most important tests you can do on your potential partner is ‘The Honesty Test’.
The Honesty Test is simple. You give the candidate a simple multiple choice test on what they think is the most important attribute is for the role they’re taking on.
The test may look like this:
Circle the most important attribute for this role
b) Marketing prowess
e) Relationship building
If they circle anything other than honesty, they’re out. See, I told you it was simple! You need your business partners to be honest with you no matter what because you need honest information so you can make good decisions in your business. If they’re even slightly dishonest you could make decisions based on inaccurate data which could kill the business. Imagine if your spouse didn’t value honesty? That’s the beginning of a strained relationship.
2. Complimentary Strengths
It’s no use going into partnership with people who have the same strengths and weaknesses as you. You need people to fill in your gaps. To be able to excel at the stuff that you’re not good at. A great way of finding out both you and your potential partners strengths is by doing the Gallup StrengthsFinder Test.
This test will identify your top strengths and categorize them into four domains:
If your strengths are heavily in Influencing and Strategy (like mine) you would want partners who were strong at ‘Executing’, so things actually got done and ‘Relationship Building’ so that you cover all the strength bases. By having various strengths within your business your setting your business up for success.
3. Find Opposite Personality Types
Naturally, we’re drawn to people who are like us. Our friends usually have similar personality types to us. In business, this can lead to blind spots. Like finding complimentary strengths, finding complimentary personality types is also advised. For example, let’s say your Myers Briggs test accurately identifies you as an INTJ.
J = Judging.
Without getting too in-depth in to this test, there are two important letters to focus on when choosing a business partner. It’s the first and last letter of the Myers Briggs assessment.
You see, if you’re an Introvert, you may benefit from having an Extrovert in your team because Introverts usually get tired from constant interaction with other people while Extroverts gain energy from these interactions. Usually Extroverts are better sales people and more active on social media. Extroverts usually enjoy networking, relationship building and getting out there! These activities can be chores for the Introvert, so having a partner who enjoys those things can be a huge win.
The last letters of the Myers Brigs are either a J, for Judging or a P, for Probing. People who have a J, such as myself, prefer to plan, schedule and execute with a step by step approach. This is useful at times because they tend to be good at organizing information and systematically using it. J’s usually have an organized desk and love planning things out on their calendar. P’s are the opposite. They are more, ‘go with the flow’ type people. Organization is usually a weak point for them and they don’t like planning too much. Instead they prefer to improvise as they go along. The cons of being a J are that you can be slow to adapt and hesitant to change the plan even when new information arises. P’s are very quick to adapt and quickly use new information to their advantage. P’s can be reckless and disorganized so they benefit from being around a J who champions organization.
In essence, partnering up with your opposite disposition in terms of Introversion/Extraversion and being Judging/Perceiving is a very wise move in business.
4. Sharing the Vision
Communicating your company’s vision with potential business partners is YOUR job. It must be CRYSTAL CLEAR to both you and your new partners. If you mess this up, you could end up with a lot of confusion and conflict moving forward. Before you take on these partners, be sure that they can communicate the vision as effectively as you and that they’re onboard with it.
5. A Trial Period
Before you get married, one could argue that it’s wise to date your prospective spouse first. It’s also wise to do the same with a potential business partner. Ask them to do a trial period with you. If they flat out refuse, it’s probably a bad match anyway. If they’re willing to work with you and prove their worth, it’s some evidence that it could be a good match. You could pay them as an employee for around three months to see how that works out before you jump in bed together and make the partnership official by signing documents. Three months is usually enough time to see if the partner really is going to add value to your business and if you’re able to have a harmonious relationship with them.
Bottom line is, partnering it out is one of the most effective hacks at boosting your productivity and bolstering your companies chances of success. Get the right partner and you can live happily ever after. If you pick the wrong partner be prepared for heartache and expensive lawyer fees. Take the time to be sure that they’re the right partner for you and your business.