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Category: Brand · 6 min read

9 Characteristics of a Good Business Partnership

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on November 29, 2018

author profile photo

on November 29, 2018

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Evaluating a new business partnership can be a challenge. Is it going to work out? Will it be a good fit long-term? It’s hard to know. To partner with someone new means you’re putting your livelihood in their hands, to some extent. You’re depending on them to keep their end of the deal and act with honesty and integrity. To help you move forward with confidence and be sure that you’re making a good decision, here are nine characteristics to look for in a new business partner.


1. They’re Receptive to Feedback

Most good partners have a growth mindset, which means they’re constantly looking for ways to grow and improve their business. Ultimately, they may look to you to provide them with positive and constructive feedback. This doesn’t have to be a daily thing, but it could be a weekly or monthly touch-base to get on the same page and identify areas to help each other reach goals and grow.


2. They Own Their Mistakes

We all make mistakes at some point in our lives, and owning it can be a primary way to grow and learn from what happened. Quality partners realize this, and face their mistakes head on. I like how Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., former publisher of The New York Times, says it: “If you don’t occasionally make a mistake, you aren’t trying hard enough.”


3. They are Great Communicators

Communicating well is a great skill-set to have. Some people do this naturally, but other partners may approach it as a skill they’ve acquired through a bit of guidance and practice. Look for someone who keeps everyone in the loop and communicates clearly what’s on their mind and what needs to get done. A lot of business problems can stem from miscommunication, and good communicators help avoid communication issues. Each office has their own rules and processes for good communication, so try to find a partner who is naturally adaptable or willing to learn how to work best with your office.

Look for someone who keeps everyone in the loop and communicates clearly what’s on their mind and what needs to get done.

4. They’ve Found Their Niche

The best partners aren’t like everybody else. They’re unique, because they’ve found their specific niche that helps them stand out. Whether they target a certain audience or sell certain products, they’ve developed their personal brand identity that makes them different from their competitors, and they’re successfully and consistently promoting and building their brand.


5. They Recognize Others

Almost everyone likes to be recognized and praised. Most of the time recognition comes from a boss, but great partners recognize their peers, too. They give shout-outs to other professionals that deserve it, and they make sure to do it in group settings, where the praise can be heard by all.


6. They Share Their Knowledge

It’s easy to keep to ourselves and hoard the knowledge and resources that we gain through the years. But exceptional partners realize that sharing their knowledge can be even more beneficial than keeping it to themselves. Whether it’s through a formal mentoring program or informally taking a younger professional or partner under their wing, sharing what they’ve learned and helping someone less experienced helps build new relationships and develops opportunities for referrals, and it shows that they are open to helping others.

Exceptional partners realize that sharing their knowledge can be even more beneficial than keeping it to themselves.

7. They Ask Questions

If you have kids, you know they ask a lot of questions, like my personal favorite: “Why?” But, as we get older, we sometimes begin to lose our inquisitive nature. It can be hard to stop and examine why we’re doing something the way we’ve always done it, or maybe we’re doing well, so we think we have the answers we need. But asking “why?” and questioning ourselves and our decisions is still a good thing. A sign of a great partner is an inquisitive nature and not being afraid to speak up and ask questions.


8. They’re Driven and Self-Motivated

It may seem obvious that the best partners are hard workers. But it should go beyond that, too. They are also driven by an internal desire to succeed, do well, and go above and beyond. They’re self-motivated, and they move on to the next task or project on their own, in an effort to be on top of things and work ahead.


9. They’re Constantly Looking for Ways to Grow

Regardless of whether or not you liked school, there’s still room to learn and grow at work. We can always learn new information and skills to help us grow mentally, whether this is by Googling and researching, attending a conference, or reading a book. Whatever it is, good partners find ways to get better and expand their knowledge and skillset.

Do you have partners that exemplify these traits? As you bring on new partners and work with your current ones, look for these signs. If you don’t see them, help develop them and set an example by following these signs yourself.


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Written By

Mark Williams

President and CEO

Mark Williams is the President/CEO of Brokers International. Over his more than 25 years of financial services experience, Mark has been both a producing independent agent in the field and a home office leader consulting to agencies and field marketing organizations. Currently, Mark is focused on the future of the insurance industry, from the disruptions of InsurTech and robo-advisors to the changing demographics and needs of customers. He also is an avid mentor, helping financial professionals navigate the industry.

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