How Do You Find A Partner?

Today I’m sharing an interview with a group of entrepreneurs and female business owners from 20 to 40-something on how to find a partner as a founder. Some great perspective. We oftren hear relationship tenets apply to business. I thought it was interesting to see how these applied back from business to 40;20 Vision on relationships.


Q. How do you find a partner?


1. Don’t settle. Define what you need. 

You stumble upon it [a business partner] because 1) you know what you are looking for and 2) you have passion for what you are doing and won’t settle for someone who doesn’t understand that passion. Until you do, outsource and do whatever you can to get it done.


You have to say, ‘Okay, I’m a creative person and I need a really good person to manage the business side. They need to be trustworthy and they need to be fascinated by my business …because that will be the glue. They need to rock. – 40-something entrepreneur


40:20 Vision: Know thyself. Don’t compromise who you are and what you are passionate about for a partner. When you know what is important to you, you have a much better idea of what will be important to you in a relationship.


2. Consider it matchmaking. 

Slip it into every conversation that you are looking for someone to fulfill a certain role.


“People in the entrepreneur community love to connect people. They get excited thinking about ‘Who do I know who is passionate about that? It’s not a rubber stamp of trust, but at the very least you are get through a certain threshold. – 20-something entrepreneur


40:20 Vision: There are opportunities all around you – consider all of them a potential love connection.  And again, when you know what you are looking for it’s a lot easer to tell your friends. Then you aren’t that person saying, “do they even know me, how could they think I could like this person?


3. Try before you buy. Consider a contract. 

Contracts are a great way to do something that is non-committal.  50% of partnerships are not going to work out the way you expect them. You need something in place so if something happens you knew how you are going to handle.  Write into the contract that if you are not happy after four months you can re-evaluate. – 40-something entrepreneur


40:20 Vision: Well there are certainly the proponents that marriage should be contractual. You need to re-sign up every 4-6 years. Wonder how that would make people act coming up on that year before resigning! But this is what dating is supposed to be. Consider it a contract with yourself to give yourself time to make sure your expectations and your partners are aligned. As some 40-somethings advise… you need to date someone through four seasons until you really know them.


4. Look for complementary skills.

Not everybody sees the same things. Hire your opposite so you are not blindsided by the things you don’t see.  To do that you need to know your own skill set. Get really honest about what your strengths and weaknesses are before you write your mission. Only then put it out there. – 40-something entrepreneur


40:20 Vision: you know it. Know yourself. I don’t know that opposites attract but at least understanding your blind spots can help you know what your red flags are! Oh no, does this mean we should really be taking the Briggs-Meyers personality test before we get into a committed relationship?


5. You don’t have to always do 50% / 50%.

There is 50% / 50% and then there’s 60% / 40% and 70% / 30%. – 40-something entrepreneur


40:20 Vision: Okay so this one is that you should do 50% / %50 overall…but do understand there will be periods where it sways to 60%/40% or 70%/30% based on the needs of the relationship. You have to understand why and talk about it and agree that it is not a forever thing or it will end in disappointment that will erode the goodwill in the relationship.


6. Don’t find a partner; find an investor.

I had already invested in the technology so when I decided I was ready for a technology partner I knew that anyone who walked in the door had to buy into it. I decided I wasn’t going to pay them. They would actually have to invest in me. They walked in owning it. – 40-something entrepreneur


40:20 Vision: You have to be invested in the relationship. From the hundreds of women I have interviewed, the most satisfied marriages were those couples who went into it really embracing that they are choosing to be with and stay with this person…that marriage is a contract. And most importantly…their partner did too. The silver lining for them was the other side of making it through the rough spots without seeking someone else to fill the void of their unhappiness.

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