For many in business especially those in the provision of professional services there come a time when a partner is needed. This person may be become one of two partners or one of more than more than two partners. This is important but I will deal with this subject another day.
I set out below the three established tests that must be passed before a partner is admitted.
- Does the face fit? It is assumed that the candidate has the experience and qualifications required but will they get on. Does the new partner carry on their work in a manner that you are happy to entrust your reputation on? The new partner will have to carry out their work in a way that compliments their peers and the existing structures. It should be accepted by all that the addition of a partner will bring change but all parties have to be prepared to evolve. Think this aspect through in light of the candidate and existing business.
- All parties have to gain in money terms. This is not to say that the gains will be immediate but they must be clear and agreed. Sometimes a retiring partner’s gain may be shorter hours and a buy out on exit. The money question must be raised and dealt with to all parties satisfaction.
- The third question is where is the elephant? In every case there is at least one elephant in the room, find it and address it. In my experience the list seems endless. For example perhaps the candidate is ideal but their spouse wants a degree of involvement that you believe is not positive ( after all my partners part is not my partner). Perhaps the firm you are joining is just right but the incumbent practitioner is uncomfortable slow making decisions or requires an unrealistic amount of information before committing. Perhaps one of the parties finds the other unusually passionate about topics that you feel should not interfere in the operation of the partnership.
Finding a partner is difficult, finding the right partner is very difficult but if the business is to prosper it has to be done successfully.