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Finding right business partners similar to dating

by Archives February 12, 2008

A business is only as good as the people in it, and finding the right people is key for burgeoning businesses, whether they are investors or partners, said entrepreneurs and business consultants at Concordia last Wednesday in the EV building.
Venture Medium, a project still in its infancy, invited working professionals to educate and give advice to starting and would-be entrepreneurs.
“It was a way to show students what a business is like, what an entrepreneur is, so they could set up their own business,” said event organizer Amanda Paquin.
The first edition is considered a pilot project according to Concordia’s Entrepreneurship and Management Association (CEMA).
Paquin added it was a good forum for entrepreneurs to encourage others to start up their own business. They talked about “entrepreneurial qualities, everything that represents an entrepreneur, their passion for their ideas. It was motivational,” she said.
“You want to find people who bring to the table something different from yourself. [It could be] either capital, knowledge or experience,” said a business consultant, Michael Walton, a print and website designer who owns a media marketing company.
Walton compares partnerships to dating – it takes time to find the right partner.
“If you have a [candidate], you’ve got to date, you’ve got to figure out who they are. And when you’re ready to take that step, then you’re ready to make a relationship.”
“Strategic alliances are the best way for anything,” said Simon Leblanc, a consultant from an investors’ firm. When starting up in an industry, “talk to people in the industry, talk to a lot of people and talk to a lot of business owners. Tell them your idea.”
Even with the right partners, the new businessperson has to expect rocky beginnings. “[When your business] starts off little, be prepared for having no money for a little bit. But then, if it grows, it grows exponentially.”
Leblanc himself started a year ago, but “for about six to eight months there was a period where there was no money.” When it picked up though, his business started to snowball. “If you keep going at it, then there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
But in this world, breaking partnerships and forming new ones is business as usual. Leblanc pointed out that if there’s something you or your company can’t do, “find someone else who does it amazingly and you’re on a roll.”
“I started with two friends. Over time, I kicked one out and bought the other guy out,” he said. “I kicked the guy out because he was no longer participating in the company and I bought the other guy out because it was both beneficial for me and for him to do so,” Walton explained.
Though both faculty and students attended the event, presenters weren’t as busy as they would have liked. The extra time allowed them to talk to each other and look for potential matches between themselves, one of the first rules for succeeding in business.
The entrepreneurs were also given the chance to showcase their businesses to students and faculty, hoping to attract new partners, investors and receive feedback.

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