Bringing a partner into your business can be one of the best strategic and financial moves you could make. It can bring valuable business skills and technical expertise to your enterprise along with some seed-money cash input. There are other factors, however, such as trust, ethics, personality differences and overall outlook that can play a role in how things work out.
You won’t have to look too hard to find successful entrepreneurs who will tell you that finding the right business partner can be like finding the right spouse. You owe it to yourself and your business to learn all you can about anyone you may be considering bringing in. A comprehensive business partner background check is a way you can protect both yourself and your reputation in the marketplace.
Do People Really Lie?
Yes, people lie, including professionals who have held responsible and noteworthy positions. To be fair, it’s often not a case of outright deception. It can be an issue of giving in to a rather common instinct to present one’s self in the best possible way. That could, however, translate into a potential business partner not mentioning something negative that you would really like to know about.
Your business is of great importance to you. You want to nurture it as best as you can so that it grows strong — and profitable. It’s in your best interests to perform all the due diligence you can up front, and you should be sure that nothing is left out of your considerations that could possibly show up and haunt you later. Vetting business partners is how you can be certain that you’re doing all you can to prevent unforeseen negative issues from cropping up.
One of the reasons entrepreneurs find it advantageous to partner up is because it’s a way to increase the amount of available capital that can be invested into business growth. With this in mind, it helps to know whether your proposed partner will be able to actually ante up when the time comes. A background check can reveal any negative financial circumstances that might prevent your partner from coming through. Poor credit, a bankruptcy or a pending lawsuit can render your partner ineffective as a contributor to investment capital when circumstances demand additional cash flow.
Will the Same Values Be Shared?
A well thought-out and successfully executed long-term strategy can be a key factor in business outcomes. Will your partner be on the same page when you plan ahead for your business’s future, or will you be pulling in different directions? Differing value systems can put you and your partner at odds when planning business strategies or when you need to deal with changing market factors. A background check and some investigative research into former business dealings can place you in a better position to reasonably predict how things might turn out.
Are There Any Ethical Issues?
Has the candidate ever been involved in any business, investment or personal issue that doesn’t meet your own ethical standards? If so, this should be a warning signal that your business’s reputation or profitability could be compromised at some time. Has your candidate played a role in running a previous business into the ground? Have any customers or suppliers been stiffed in the past?
What your business partner says or does can affect your reputation and also possibly open up legal actions. In a worst case scenario, there could also be a chance that your partner might siphon some unauthorized funds from the business if he or she found themselves in a serious jam. These are some of the things that can be reasonably discerned from a thorough background check or private investigation.
If your partner has ever been involved in a criminal proceeding it could prevent your business from obtaining certain government licenses. A partner’s personal IRS or state tax issues could also carry the potential to spill over into your business. It’s in your best interests to be aware of these matters before moving forward.
What’s Tucked Away in Social Media?
Don’t neglect looking into a future partner’s social media accounts. You may discover affiliations, activities or outlooks that you prefer your business not be associated with. Dig deep, and if current social media activity doesn’t provide a clear enough picture, you may be best served by a more thorough investigative process.
Not 100%, But Still Ready To Partner Up?
The results of your prospective business partner background check may not be squeaky clean, but the individual under consideration may still be capable of bringing certain significant and favorable assets to the relationship. Talk it over. Review all of the findings together and, if it looks like any discovered past negative history will not affect your business, draw up a contract that addresses any potential concerns. This could be your legal recourse to dissolving the partnership if it turns out that your ethical or professional standards are not fully adhered to.