Tuesday’s Tip from Tom – Picking Business Partners

Tuesday’s Tip from Tom – Picking Business Partners

What Qualities Should Your Business Partners Possess Before You Join “Forces” With Them 

I recently came across a quote that a cherished former business partner, Tommy Ryan, Founder of the ISU Group, shared with me and other colleagues some years ago.  I had almost forgotten it contents which were created by John Rutledge, an economist, and then chairman of a merchant bank in Greenwich Connecticut.  Tommy read them in the July 15, 1996 issue of Forbes magazine, Money & Investment section under Business Strategy.

Even though Tommy has passed on, these words not only remind me of how he led his life, but are thoughts that may help all of us pick the best business partners.

This is what Mr. Rutledge wrote: 

“…..here is my advice: Select an equity partner on strength of character, integrity and philosophy.  Everybody in the investment business has the same green money to invest.   What matters is how they are going to behave three, five or seven years down the road when unexpected problems come up, as they always do.  Pick people who will sit down with you and look for solutions rather than for someone to blame.” 

“Also pick equity partners who understand how difficult it is to start and grow a business and who respect the work of the most humble person in the company.  A little kindness and decency aren’t bad either.” 

“Finally, pick someone who is interested in the long-term health of the business, who wants to create a permanent franchise for producing sustainable free cash flow, not someone looking to make a quick buck.  It takes time to build a great company.  Sometimes when you do the right things for the business the numbers look worse for a while before they get better.  It takes patient capital, patient owners and patient managers to do the right things for the long term.” 

I wish you every success in your choice of business partners.

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Tom Bone
Risk Insurance Advisor
ISU Insurance Services
2266 Lava Ridge Court
Roseville, California 95661
Phone 916.960.8758 or 800.823.4852 ext. 8758
Fax 916.773.4484
Mobile 925.285.6790
Email tbone@risksnthreatsmatter.com
License #0306692