In last month’s issue (October, 2012) of Dynamic Business Magazine, I told my story about how I asked Mark to start Nudge with me. The story had a bit of a different angle because Mark had been my boss in one of my very first jobs at a large accounting firm. It focused on what my experiences were and what I learnt in the process. The article is also now online at the Dynamic Business website.

In summary, some of the points I found to be important when choosing a business partner were:

  • Do your research first. Before you consider approaching a potential business partner, make sure you understand the market your idea will operate in and your product differentiation. You will get asked a lot of questions, and it is important to show that you own the idea.
  • It was important for me to find a business partner who was passionate about Nudge. This meant being passionate about small business and an easier way of doing accounting for small business. Whilst the article tells the story of Mark, all three of us (Aaron, Mark and myself) all come from small business families.
  • I understood what my skill set was and set about finding business partners who had both skills I didn’t have and skills which complement mine. Aaron, Mark and myself are all Chartered Accountants and have at least ten years’ experience each in working in large accounting firms and companies. However, we also each bring our own individual skills across strategy, marketing, operations and specialist tax advice.
  • Once you decide on a approaching a potential business partner, have a brief chat first to gain a sense of their interest. You will be able to tell pretty quickly if they are interested or not.
  • Don’t give up immediately. If a business partner initially says no, but you can see they really are passionate about the idea, then listen to their concerns. See if there is a way that their concerns can be addressed
  • Don’t let a former working relationship hold you back. Even though Mark had previously been my boss, I didn’t let this get in the way of me approaching him. I believed he would be a perfect fit for Nudge, and knew we would be able to discuss the idea as equals.