Top 3 three traits to look for in the right business partner

July 20, 2015 | Toronto, ON
Contributed by Jordan Whelan, BCom '08

The process of seeking a partner for your business venture is analogous to dating. There are risks of deception or the “bait and switch,” skeletons in the closet and/or the threat of misrepresentation. To build up trust with someone you engage in a venture with takes up to six months, however you will likely see many “cracks” before then.

Besides building up trust with your partner, you should also have a humbling discussion of what each person is bringing to the table both in terms of finances and skill set. You want to make sure you compliment each other. The less overlap in financial resources and skills, the better.

I recently sought out a business partner for my third business, a Toronto PR agency, called Grey Smoke Media and here are the three traits I looked for:

Sense of Urgency

I’ve spoken at length about the need for entrepreneurs to develop fire around what they do. Business is a dog-eat-dog world that waits for no one. Even when you’re on top, you need to act like it could be taken away any second. Many entrepreneurs have a fast talking, fast thinking mind that doesn’t wane.

Risk Takers

Running a business is tough. It is even tougher when you weigh the odds of your success. More than 90% of businesses will fail over a two-year period. Pick a partner who has a tolerance for risk on both an emotional and financial level.

Sell Sell Sell

Entrepreneurs are selling their businesses 24/7 to anyone that will listen including investors, customers, the media and even potential employees. Selling is about messaging and psychology. Find a business partner who can properly read the person they are speaking to and package it to fit their needs. Avoid anyone who has a problem with coming off as genuine.

Jordan WhelanJordan Whelan, B.Com. ’08is an entrepreneur who serves as president of media buying and strategy agency, Grey Smoke Media. His latest e-commerce venture, an Etsy alternative, Framestr, allows users to get paid cash for sharing products among friends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comment Policy

We generally welcome discussion on our blog posts. However, we reserve the right to edit or delete comments in certain situations:

  • Comments which include unrelated or suspicious links or messages (spam).
  • Comments which are off topic.
  • Comments which attack or threaten individuals or a group of people.
  • Comments which include profanity or messages that would generally be considered offensive or inappropriate by the McMaster community.

This site is moderated by the DeGroote Marketing and Community Engagement team. If you have any questions please email Katie Almas.