13 Key Characteristics to Consider When Selecting a Business Partner

In the quest for the ideal business partnership, we’ve gathered thirteen insights from seasoned professionals, including operations managers and CEOs. From considering aligning ethics and work ethic to the importance of managing stress for productive partnerships, discover what these leaders deem crucial when selecting a business ally.

  • Aligns Ethics With Work Ethic
  • Embraces Job Aspects Willingly
  • Leverages Connections for New Sales
  • Maintains Partnership Foundation With Integrity
  • Values Emotional Intelligence in Partners
  • Brings Market Insights With Experience
  • Drives Innovation Through Intellectual Curiosity 
  • Builds Trust With a Transparent Partnership
  • Adapts Continuously to Evolving Business Landscapes
  • Exhibits Trustworthiness With Effective Communication
  • Conveys Honesty and Timeliness
  • Considers Conflict Resolution Skills Essential
  • Manages Stress for Productive Partnerships

Aligns Ethics With Work Ethic

My husband and I are in the exterior remodelling business. Custom Exteriors is our second business in this field, as we sold our previous company in 2021. When choosing a business partner for Custom, we could use the lessons learned from our previous company to make a better choice. Our experience told us that the most important part of a business partnership is to make sure that your partner has the same goals, personal ethics, and work ethic as you do.

It was our experience that you absolutely cannot be successful in business with a partner who has a different perception of acceptable business practices. The same applies to the effort level of your business partner. If you are fully invested, putting in extra time, and putting everything on the line to make a success of your business, it is difficult to maintain a positive attitude with a business partner who is not contributing the same amount of effort.

At Custom Exteriors, with much due diligence, we could find a partner who practices the same business principles as we do. Our business is growing by leaps and bounds and has a healthy and enjoyable culture. In our opinion, this is a direct result of having a leadership team with similar core beliefs. At the end of the day, you can adjust most aspects of business; however, you can’t adjust someone’s moral compass or work ethic.

Niki Obrien, Operations Manager, Custom Exteriors

Embraces Job Aspects Willingly

There are many benefits to partnering with someone else in business: more idea generation, opportunities for additional capital, and the comforting thought that someone else is in the trenches with you as you work day in, and day out to bring professional goals to life. However, when deciding whom to select for a partnership, one must also take into account individual work styles, long-term goals, and compatibility as friends, not just as professional counterparts.

I work exclusively in the travel industry, so I know more than anyone how nuanced a decision it can be to bring another co-pilot on board. Because my industry involves an extensive amount of time away from home, it would be unwise for me to select a business partner who is unwilling to travel personally or spend business funds on related expenses.

My job is also steeped in constant public and client interaction, and while certain aspects can be delegated, it would be foolish to choose a partner who is averse to picking up the phone or sending emails to those who have questions or concerns if I were to be absent or off the clock.

From experience, I would say that one key characteristic in selecting a business partner would ultimately be finding someone who does not mind taking on all required aspects of a job, especially in terms of what can be professionally shared among both business owners. Without this understanding and willingness, imbalance and dysregulation are guaranteed to occur.

Saya Nagori, Founder, Wander DC

Leverages Connections for New Sales

Ability to draw in fresh customers. This relates to the earlier query about the candidate’s familiarity with, and experience in, the sector of work your organization is in. Business partners could carry important connections that could result in sales. 

For example, if you have recently developed a novel and innovative company solution, your new collaborator might know business executives who will be thrilled to hear about it. Afterwards, the new partner can leverage their prior connections to these business executives to help your company obtain new contracts.

Daniel Li, Co-Founder and CEO, Plus

Maintains Partnership Foundation With Integrity

I believe integrity stands as my pivotal criterion in choosing a business partner. Beyond skills and expertise, trustworthiness and ethical conduct define a partner’s worth. Integrity manifests in consistency, transparency, and reliability—crucial in navigating challenges and fostering a sustainable partnership. It ensures alignment in values, fostering a resilient foundation for mutual growth and success.

Simranjeet Singh, CEO, Search My Expert

Values Emotional Intelligence in Partners

Emotional intelligence is a quality I look for in business partners. A partner who is sensitive to their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others, can navigate the intricate nuances of collaboration with finesse. A harmonious and productive working relationship can be fostered by the ability to empathize, understand differing perspectives, and manage interpersonal dynamics. 

Emotional intelligence not only improves communication but also allows for the creation of a positive and supportive environment, which is essential for dealing with challenges. This feature extends beyond technical skills, resulting in a partnership in which individuals can collaborate seamlessly, adapt to each other’s needs, and celebrate successes together. 

Emotional intelligence weaves resilience, understanding, and a greater capacity for mutual growth into the tapestry of business.

Brad Filliponi, Co-Founder, BoxBrownie.com

Brings Market Insights With Experience

When selecting a business partner, I place great importance on their extensive experience. This key characteristic is a crucial factor in my decision-making process. It means having a wide range of knowledge and expertise in various areas related to the industry or market we are operating. 

A partner with comprehensive experience can bring valuable insights and perspectives to the table, which can be crucial in making strategic decisions and navigating challenges. They also have a deeper understanding of the market and its trends, which can help us stay ahead of competitors. Comprehensive experience with a business partner is vital for long-term success and growth. 

So, it is important to thoroughly evaluate a potential partner’s background and experience before making a decision.

Linda Chavez, Founder and CEO, Seniors Life Insurance Finder

Drives Innovation Through Intellectual Curiosity 

A trait I highly value in a business partner is intellectual curiosity. A partner who has a genuine thirst for knowledge, a propensity to ask probing questions, and a never-ending desire to learn adds unparalleled dynamism to the partnership. This curiosity goes beyond industry norms, sparking innovation and creative problem-solving. It fosters an environment in which experimentation is encouraged, and new ideas are welcomed. 

In a rapidly changing business landscape, having a partner who is constantly looking to broaden their intellectual horizons can lead to the discovery of novel opportunities and the development of game-changing solutions. Intellectual curiosity acts as a growth catalyst, bringing in a steady stream of new perspectives and ideas that can propel the partnership to new heights.

Chetan Patil, Owner, Patil Law

Builds Trust With a Transparent Partnership

One key characteristic that I prioritize when selecting a business partner, as I did with my current partnership with Vaibhav, the founder of Content Whale, is “transparency.” Transparency in a business partner is of paramount importance because it fosters trust and open communication.

The transparency demonstrated by Vaibhav and me has been a cornerstone of our successful partnership. It means being honest and forthright about our business dealings, challenges, and goals. This level of transparency allows us to make informed decisions, resolve issues promptly, and align our visions for the companies we founded.

Transparency not only builds trust but also creates a foundation for a strong and enduring partnership. It enables us to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship with confidence, knowing that we can rely on each other’s integrity and openness. I believe transparency is highly valued when considering business partnerships because it lays the groundwork for a successful and harmonious working relationship.

Bhavik Sarkhedi, Growth Head and CMO, Content Whale

Adapts Continuously to Evolving Business Landscapes

One key characteristic I consider while selecting a business partner is their ability to adapt. Having someone who can navigate and thrive in today’s ever-evolving business landscape is a tremendous asset and a good choice.

This type of partner is open to change, quick to learn new concepts, and resilient in the face of uncertainty. This trait is rare because only a few are comfortable embracing change.

An adaptable business partner brings fresh perspectives, seizes opportunities, and effectively responds to unforeseen challenges. This characteristic is crucial as industries transform, technologies advance, and market conditions fluctuate.

Gary Heath, Managing Director and Founder, Dad’s Own Products

Exhibits Trustworthiness With Effective Communication

One key characteristic that I always consider while selecting a business partner is trustworthiness. Trust is the foundation of any successful partnership, and it is crucial to have faith in your partner’s integrity, reliability, and honesty. A trustworthy business partner will always keep their promises and commitments, communicate openly and honestly, and act with transparency. This builds a strong sense of mutual respect, dependability, and accountability between both parties. 

Moreover, a trustworthy business partner will also have your best interests at heart. They will prioritize the success of the partnership above their gains and put in the necessary effort and resources to achieve common goals. This not only fosters a positive working relationship but also leads to long-term success for both individuals involved. 

Another reason why trustworthiness is essential in a business partner is that it creates a safe and secure environment for sharing ideas, discussing problems, and finding solutions. In any partnership, there will be challenges and disagreements, but with a trustworthy partner, you can confidently address these issues knowing that they will handle them with integrity and respect.

Brandon Betty, Founder and CEO, Southern Hills Home Buyers

Conveys Honesty and Timeliness 

I look for partners who are truthful and make the right decision at the right time. Trust is extremely important in our business of helping people with lawsuit funding. I always look for partners who are honest, fair, and play by the rules. This protects our clients and keeps everything in order. 

Because our work involves legal issues, upholding strong values is critical. Choosing trustworthy partners not only builds trust with our clients but also strengthens the legal funding industry. This way, we can better support people across the country who are awaiting the outcome of their lawsuits.

Rory Donadio, CEO, Tribeca Lawsuit Loans

Considers Conflict Resolution Skills Essential

Finding a business partner with strong conflict-resolution skills is crucial. Conflicts will inevitably arise, and not always will there be agreement, sometimes leading to disagreements. Partnering with someone who aims to resolve conflicts peacefully and empathetically is essential. Considering that 65% of promising startups fail due to partner conflicts, having a partner skilled in proactive conflict management is vital. This skill is important for ensuring smooth business operations during disagreements. 

A partner adept in conflict resolution can prevent minor issues from escalating, which helps maintain the health and direction of the business. Moreover, this ability contributes to a positive work environment, which is important for fostering creativity and sustained productivity.

Karl Kangur, Managing Director, DreamGrow

Manages Stress for Productive Partnerships

One key characteristic I consider while selecting a business partner is their ability to manage stress.

I’ve worked with partners who are great at coming up with ideas, but they get stressed out when things don’t happen as quickly as they’d like. They call me constantly and ask me what’s going on. This is not productive for either of us—it just makes me angry and frustrated, and it wears me down.

This isn’t to say that people who are good at managing stress aren’t also good at coming up with ideas! It’s just that if someone can manage stress and still has creative energy left over from the day’s work, this can be helpful for your company in the long run.

Luka Blaževac, CEO, Incendio Wands