Leaders form partnerships in business for a variety of reasons: to locate, hire and retain talented employees, to find motivation and inspiration, and to build networks of suppliers and acquaintances to support the running of their businesses.

There is a well-used saying that a business partnership is like a marriage. This may be true in terms of the ups and downs of a marriage, but also in that a divorce or schism can be very costly, and for this reason, it’s important to choose your partnerships wisely.

Entrepreneurs and leaders recommend that you never stop looking for partners in business. Attending trade shows and networking events is a good start, but you can always turn to the Internet to get up-to-date industry information. For example, search for Companies House information at Duedil and you’ll find a database of company financial histories going back 20 years, for free.

Duedil also shares company profiles with social media like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. These are incredibly useful platforms for approaching a potential contact and also for getting to know someone in a relaxed (and often openly honest) environment.

A business partner may be a good match on paper, but his or her family or personal situation may not be. Prudence suggests you wait at least 6 months before getting into a partnership, giving yourself a bit of time to get to know the person behind the CV.

Another tip is to set goals and manage expectations from the very beginning of your partnership so that if either party is not performing or if either party’s duties change over time, you can re-establish goals and ensure you’re providing one another with the help that you each require. When it’s time to make the partnership official, ask a lawyer to draw up an agreement rather than doing it the old-fashioned way.

There’s no guidebook or set of rules a person can follow in order to secure a profitable partnership; in fact, partnering in business isn’t for everyone. Finding a business partner who complements your strengths – and excels in the areas in which you are weakest – is not easy to do. Maintaining a healthy network of business relationships is a good place to start.

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