When starting a business, many entrepreneurs quickly realize the need for partners who can help their company get off the ground or later grow it to the next level.A small percentage of people have all the necessary skills and experience they need to bring a product to market, sell it and manage their finances all on their own, says Steve Nielsen, founder and CEO of
"That was the point at which I realized there has got to be a way to connect
entrepreneurial business partners ," Nielsen says. "We kept looking for a way that we could find people we needed on the Internet, but there wasn't anything out there for those who wanted to come together and start a company to find each other." Thus, the idea for Partnerup.com was born. After developing the site for a little more than two years, Partnerup.com launched in April. Already more than 10,000 members have signed up for the service and they've been hearing feedback from users who've found partners and found the service useful, Nielsen says. "About 80% of the people who perform a search on the Web site are able to find one or more matches they are looking for," the 25-year-old entrepreneur says. "I would say we are probably about three or four months away to hitting 100%." duplicate your skills."
Second, "really get to know people and understand them before you go into business with them, whether they're a friend or family member or whether they're someone you met online," he says. When building a relationship with your partner, "make sure their goals and work philosophy are in line with yours." Finding a business partner online, Nielsen says, is like using an Internet dating service. "Obviously you wouldn't just go marry someone you met on the Web site instantly," he says. "Similarly, you need to get to know the person and really build a relationship with them before you go into business with them." Also, be open to possibilities, Nielsen says. People tend not to consider the possibility of taking on business partners who are in a different age bracket. When people who are older and retired come together with younger entrepreneurs, "we've really seen (that) those relationships have been very successful," he says. There are a surprising number of semi-retired and retired people who are looking to get involved in entrepreneurial ventures, and they are often overlooked. Young entrepreneurs should be open to the thought of hiring older business partners, if for no other reason then the fact that they are usually more professionally experienced. Rather than looking for the complementary business partners, entrepreneurs always have the option of trying to gain the necessary skills they need to move ahead on their own and in many instances they are able to, Nielsen says. "But it might not be as fast or successful and there's always the chance they might miss their window of opportunity."