Cerius Business Today – How to Find the Right Business Partner

In this episode of the Cerius Business Today Podcast, Pam and Kristen discuss the right way to find a business partner.

Pam Wasley and Kristen McAlister have been partners at Cerius Executives for well over a decade. In the podcast, they give some great advice on getting a buy-sell agreement, avoiding a ‘yes partner’, and partner due diligence.

Agreements between business partners

A lot of tricky situations between partners could be avoided if they had signed a buy-sell agreement. Pam tells us why:

You wouldn’t get into all these problems if you had an agreement between the partners: a buy-sell agreement. I have to tell you, that solves the majority of problems. Not all of them, but the majority of problems can be solved just by anticipating what can go astray in the partnership. Whether it is with a family member or a friend or with someone you didn’t know before. If you had that in place, it could  make things so much easier. I can’t tell you how many people I talk to and they go, “Buy-sell agreement? What’s that?”

Dysfunctional business partners

Kristen shares her experience with some dysfunctional workplaces:

We’ve been brought into a number of situations where we ended up pulling ourselves out of it. Because after working with the two or more partners, we realized they were never going to even agree on a person to bring in. So step number one is self-awareness. You need to accept that you’re dysfunctional as partners and you are doing the company a disservice. Number two, you need to agree on the next step. Do we sell the company? Does one of us sell part of it and we bring in an equity partner? Or do we bring in a president who is not there to be the peacemaker? You shouldn’t need a psychologist in the company but rather someone who can move it forward. And if you can’t agree on that, you’ve got to either sell the company or one of you gets out. It’s not going to work. Bringing in a president is not the save-all unless you can agree on some basics. We’ve had too many situations where the partners simply couldn’t get past the basics and it ended there.

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