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The 10 Most Important Questions To Ask Before Taking On A Business Partner

Written by Than Merrill

Have you ever considered taking on a business partner?

Acquiring a business partner can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Partners have the ability to reduce your workload, bring new strategies to the table, and generate new contacts; however, choosing the right partner is crucial.

Assessing a person’s skills and resume are not the only things to look at when evaluating a candidate. You and your business partner will spend a lot of time together, so it is important to find a person who’s personality will fit well with your company’s culture. Luckily there are several questions to ask a potential business partner that can help you find the right fit.

If you are interested in creating a business partnership, be sure to consider these essential elements:

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how to ask for a business partnership

What To Look For In A Potential Business Partner

An ideal business partner will not only share your values and goals, but also possess qualities that complement yours. This will help ensure you both approach meetings, investment decisions and more with the same dedication. At the same time, finding a partner with qualities that complement your own will safeguard against any potential blindspots and guarantee your company remains fresh.

Before you start looking for a business partnership, take a moment to evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses. What do you excel at in your business? Are there areas you could improve? By reflecting on yourself, you can start to get a better idea of what you need from a business partnership.

Take notes as you think about your ideal business partnership, these will help guide your search. The follow qualities are a good place to start when searching for a potential business partner:

  • Reliability: First and foremost, you need to know you can count on someone before going into business with them. When interviewing potential partners, pay attention to the way they treat meeting times, communication, and those around them. A reliable business partner will value the time of others by being punctual, communicative and consistent.

  • Trustworthy: To avoid any potential problems in your business, take the time to build a relationship and ensure there is mutual trust before working together. Remember, it is unlikely you will find the perfect business partner in on or two meetings; building trust can take time but it will be worth it in the long term. Finding a trustworthy business partner will help guarantee peace of mind as you grow your company.

  • Passion: The best business partnership will be built on a shared passion for the company (and its mission). Look for a business partner who cares about what you are trying to accomplish as much as you do. Working with someone who feels lukewarm about your company goals will not make for an effective business partnership.

  • Creativity: A creative business partner will be useful not only when it comes to generating new business ideas, but also when it comes to problem solving. A creative business partner will be able to see challenges from new angles, and provide unique solutions. Creative thinkers will also be able to breathe new life into company ideas, making them an invaluable asset to any team.

  • Resilience: As a business owner, you will undoubtedly run into obstacles over time. It’s crucial to have a business partner who can weather the storm. Review past work experience with any potential partners and ask for specific examples of how they have acted during times of crisis.

  • Compatibility: A business partner could have all of the above qualities, but if the relationship is not compatible it will never work out. You do not have to be best friends with someone to work with them, but it is important to have a mutual respect for one another. If a potential partner checks all the boxes, but something still is not right it could just be because you do not work together well.

Business Partner Questionnaire

If you are considering working with a business partner, it is crucial to ask the right questions during the interview process. The last thing you want is to create the perfect business partnership agreement only to have it signed by an individual you realize is a problematic partner.

Ask a prospective partner these 5 questions to determine whether or not they will benefit your business:

  1. What are your expectations?

  2. What are your values?

  3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  4. What is your number one goal?

  5. What questions do you have for me?

business partner

What Are Your Expectations?

Expectations are one of the first things you need to learn about a potential business partner. Ask what kind of role they want to take on, how involved they want to be, and how long they expect to work with the company. This information will reveal what they want out of the partnership, and help you determine whether or not you are on the same page. Additionally, be sure to ask about their availability and preferred time commitment to all stages of the process.

Think about how their expectations align with your vision for the company. Were you hoping to share the operating responsibilities, or have a more hands-off partner? Discussing expectations early on will make sure you are on the same page about how responsibilities will be divided in the future. Remember, a business partner should help alleviate some of your workload, not add to it. Keep that in mind as you talk about expectations and look for a partner willing to hit the ground running.

”What Are Your Values?

As I mentioned above, it is crucial that your values align with a potential business partner. Your values do not have to be an exact match (and they shouldn’t be) but they should at least coordinate. To learn about someone’s values, try asking how they deal with stress and conflict. This will reveal how they work under pressure, and how they will deal with potential obstacles in the future. Pay attention to body language and ask for specific examples during your discussion. Look for authenticity as you listen to what they have to say.

If you already have your company values, or an idea of what they are, ask candidates how they demonstrate those values professionally. For example, if you value integrity try asking about a situation in which they exhibited integrity in the workplace. You can also provide examples from your own career, or explain why integrity is important to you to give them a better idea of what you are looking for. By taking the time to review values, you can make sure you approach situations with the same principles and minimize potential conflict in the future.

”What Are Your Strengths & Weaknesses?”

A person’s strengths and weaknesses will provide valuable insight into what it’s like to work with them on a regular basis. Ask about their top three skills, how they prioritize projects and which areas they have excelled at in the past. Their answers should show you where they shine in a professional environment, and can give you a better idea how they will fit into your company culture.

At the same time, it is also important to ask about their weaknesses. To get an honest answer try asking questions like, “what is one skill you have worked to improve in the last year?” or “tell me about a project that didn’t go according to plan, and how you handled it.” A strong candidate will be able to accurately, and honestly reflect on their past experiences.

“What Is Your #1 Goal?”

Do you remember what motivated you to start your business? That “why” is likely your driving force behind your worth ethic, business decisions and more. Just as you know your “why” inside and out, it is important to know your business partners’. Ask why they went into real estate, what they hope to accomplish and how. This will weed out anyone lacking direction, who may not be reliable or motivated in the long run.

As you reflect on goals, be sure to ask about their definition of success. Learn what they classify as being successful, and think about how it fits into your own vision. While you don’t need to share an exact definition, you do need to make sure you are moving in the same direction. Having a shared idea of success will be valuable when making decisions about investment types, company expansion and more. Don’t be afraid to share your goals during this time as well, getting to know each other’s plans will help you both establish a strong working relationship.

“What Questions Do You Have For Me?”

An important thing to remember is that you are being interviewed too. A business partnership is a two way street and it’s crucial that your visions align. As you get a better idea of who they are, open the conversation up and see what questions they have for you. Hopefully at this point you have covered the main topics (like expectations, goals and values), but they may still have questions for you.

Be transparent during your discussion, after all the purpose of the conversation is to find a mutually beneficial connection. Hiding your expectations or failing to answer their questions will not help either of you plan a business agreement. It is a good idea to think about the interview as a conversation: provide examples from your work experience and be open with your answers. Understanding each other will help set the tone for an honest and helpful partnership in the future.

questions to ask when forming a business partnership

Do You Actually Need A Partner?

You do not actually need a partner to be successful in business. Although, the right partnership can help each party take their business to the next level. Many business partnerships are formed to help balance one another and add strengths to the core of the company. These mutually beneficial arrangements can allow one partner to show off their business acumen, while the other balances financing. No matter the arrangement, there are numerous possible perks to deciding to work with a business partner. That being said, some investors prefer to work alone and that’s alright too.


A successful business partner is not impossible to find, though it may take time to find the right person for the job. A strong business partnership will be built on mutual respect and a shared vision of success for the company. Be strategic as you interview potential candidates, and make sure you understand which questions to ask a potential business partner to help find what you are looking for. There are so many benefits to forming a business partnership, just make sure you find the right candidate.

Do you know which questions to ask a potential partner? Share your tips on forming a business partnership in the comments below.

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