I recently posted my profile looking for a business partner to join me in building a startup company. I have a prototype for the product I've been developing for over two years. I have also done some market value tests on my own (online posts, ads, and live demos). I'm in need of a partner with more operations experience and knowledge than I have, and am very eager to find one.
Is it wise to approach potential partners or is there a better way of attracting someone with the desired skills and interests?
Damien, there is no easy answer for this. If what you have is truly compelling, then you just need to tell your story over and over to people that have the skills that you seek. Best thing is to make sure that they have a way to find out what you are about. I just connected you on LinkedIn. Happy to talk.
Ask people you know and trust for recommendations. Don't look for strangers.
Why get a partner? Do like many startups do and engage an outside consultant that can provide the expertise you need without relinquishing equity or dilution. Feel free to reach out for more information. email@example.com
I think it's a lot like dating: you want to cast your net as widely as possible through friends, social media networks, partnering sites etc.. Then be extremely thorough and diligent about who you partner with.
I've seen a lot of people do just the opposite: limit themselves only to their network of friends or friends of friends, and then get into partnerships too quickly and without much due diligence.
What do you want from a partner that you can not get from a employee or vendor?
Keep in mind, a partnership is like a marriage. Pick the wrong person and life can be ugly, and it is really painful to get out.
I might be able to help (http://cofounderslab.com/profile/thomas-chesney-los-angeles-uxa6tz). I have start up experience and a broad base of operations knowhow. But I need to know more about what it is you want to do. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Damien - a couple of suggestions on this topic:
1. Don't rush into this! First outline where you feel you are going to need help to bring your prototype forward and for the potential business as a whole. Think about not only the manufacturing and development of the product(s), but also how to market them, sell them, along with the accounting, human resources, and info technology aspects.
Once you have those requirements laid out (and your best estimate of timing), you can take an inventory of (a) what role(s) you can carry, the remainder being what you need to potentially backfill.
2. Unless you have incepted your business with co-founder(s), I would instead play "wait and see." With #1, you now have a list of roles to fill, and there is no rule requiring a fully built out management team to start a business.
Take the time required to find the right people to ensure you have the best fit possible. That also means you do not need to immediately get married. Dating is perfectly fine until you mutually feel comfortable with eachother. This too extends to the notion of equity. Sure, eventual co-founders will most likely want a piece of the pie, but remember that it is your baby. Consider a vesting schedule to ownership to further protect yourself.
I've seen too many people rush together at the onset of a project, only to have personality conflict, divergent work ethic, and cultural fit issues turn into messy divorce situations.
Along these same lines there are folks that may be willing to help - as advisors, mentors and/or on a small project contract basis to assist you with meeting certain milestones, then move on. This could be a much more viable alternative, both from a cost and equity standpoint.
3. As far as where to find people - I suggest getting involved with any applicable meetup groups and other networking opportunities that are in your area (or online, if in-person is not your highest priority for on-going potential team members.) Incubators/accelerators and co-working locations (such as WeWork) often hold interesting topical events that are many times open to the general public.
Thank you to everyone who replied to my question. You've all been very helpful and given me much to consider. At this time I've chosen to focus more attention to improving the prototype I've built and reaching out to other professionals in the game industry.
I'm still on the lookout for partners to kick things into overdrive, however, I will take my time while looking for the right fit.
I am happy to talk about it. Check out my profile:https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidcruzsilva/
Contact me through there if interested.