How should you evaluate a potential business partner?

1. Be objective.

Approach your assessment of potential business partners with disregard for friendships or emotional ties. Write up a list of specific criteria that you’re looking for if your basic needs can be met, then you can decide whether or not to continue forward with the evaluation process.

2. Run background checks.

Require all potential partners to submit to a background check before you meet with them. In addition, ask for a list of references including both personal and professional. Ask questions about their financial situations, creditworthiness, debt, and assets.

3. Try before you buy.

If possible, get involved in community projects or regular social gatherings that your potential partner is also participating in. This will allow you to see how well they interact with others, which is an essential skill in business of all types.

4. Assess the leverage they offer.

Every set of business partners should provide each other with some form of leverage. During your evaluation, ask questions that will target the true value the potential partner offers. What knowledge and experience in the industry can they bring to the table? Do they provide networking opportunities? How much revenue are they likely to bring in?

5. Look for an alignment of values.

Clearly define your own personal and business values. Then look for alignment and synergy between your beliefs and those of your potential partner. Keep in mind your values don’t necessarily need to be the same, just compatible with each other.