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Where to find a business partner  

David Alison:

There are lots of reasons people want to work with a partner when starting or growing a business. In many cases a partnership happens out of a shared passion; two or more people discuss an insanely great idea and before you know it they are sketching out a product or business plan on a cocktail napkin. Then there are those that have an idea but recognize they need someone that has skills they lack or maybe want to share the crushing workload that comes with starting a business.

He proposes the following key methods

  • Find cofounders amongst your friends and colleagues;
  • Use the social web to meet potential cofounders;
  • Always be networking

Cultivate your network carefully and over time you will find that what you are really doing is inserting yourself into a new community, one populated by fellow entrepreneurs that are hungry to build up their business. You may not find a new business partner overnight but in time either the right person will pop up on your radar or you will have learned enough that maybe you don't need that partner after all.

Of particular relevance is this HN comment, which clarifies a very important point:

Never force the relationship. Network - but do it to meet new people not specifically to find a partner.

The way I like to put it is that networking to find a cofounder is like going to a party to find a wife. You might meet lots of interesting, and potentially eligible, partners while out networking/partying, but those who respond favourably when you mention what you're looking for on the first "date" are probably not the ones you want to marry.

It sounds very tricky and Zen-like to say you should go out networking, but you will only find a good cofounder if you're not actively trying to find one, but, sorry, that's the way human relationships work, in both the business and personal cases!

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