If you look at the world of business over the past 100 years, you will notice a dramatic increase in partnerships and productivity over the past 10-15 years. This of course is thanks to the power of the internet. It’s completely changed everything about how ideas come together, companies are formed and especially how business and e-commerce now takes place throughout the world.

No matter what type of business you are running (or planning to start), there is no better way to learn the ropes and prepare for what’s to come, than by learning from those who have already experienced the ups and downs of business, while also being willing to share their experiences as well.

Knowing When and How to Choose a Business Partner

The Importance of Business Partnerships & Paving the Road to Success

When it comes time to start your business or when you start looking at your options for expansion, one of the most considered options is to start a business with a friend, colleague or partner.

I recently had the opportunity to connect with Logan Chierotti and Ryan Russo, who have been partners in business for over a decade now. With such success and experiences under their belt, I felt this would be a great opportunity for them to share their stories, advice and experiences with the entrepreneur world as well.

Here we go!

1.) You and Ryan Russo have been business partners for over 10 years now. How did you first meet and what was your first business venture?

We actually are friends from elementary school, Ryan was a few years older then me and I was close friends with his younger brother. After Ryan graduated from College he got into the mortgage industry and I got into the real estate business. In 2005 we decided to team up and create a website to generate leads, at the time there weren’t many sites doing this and the majority of real estate agents had no idea what SEO or Internet marketing was. Ryan and I being young guys, 24 and 26 had a the advantage on having a good understanding of online marketing. We launched ColoradoHomeHelper.com and the site quickly grew to be 1 of the top lead producing and largest real estate search sites online. We were generating so many leads we couldn’t work them and decided to move our focus to lead generation and began selling leads to real estate agents. The site was a huge success and set the stage for our future Internet marketing careers. In 2008 we sold ColoradoHomeHelper.com and started a consumer products company.

2.) In the age of the internet, 10 years is quite a long period of time. What have you both learned about business as you’ve transitioned your focus to online marketing?

Business is an ever growing and change game so we are both constantly learning and evolving, we started out as Internet marketing experts but quickly learned that if we wanted to take our careers to the next level we needed to learn business development, management and the important of operations. As an Internet marketer its fun for us to generate leads and make sales, but once you start getting an influx of leads and orders you need to learn to delegate tasks to others. I think one of the hardest things to learn was delegation, when you build something from the ground up yourself you know how to do ever job exceptionally well and you care about your business more then anyone else ever could, so letting others take over aspects of your business is something we initially struggled with. Over time have we learned to properly train and incentives others to help grow our business. From sales people to customer service staff as an entrepreneur you learn that you can’t do everything yourself, you need to learn how to hire people, train people and motivate people. Having a team of great people who really care about your business is one of the most crucial and most difficult aspects to growing a business.

Entrepreneur on tightrope

3.) Being a successful solo entrepreneur is a mission in itself, but I imagine having a partner comes with it’s pros and cons as well — what have been some of the highs and lows you’ve experienced over the years.

Ryan and I work really well together. We’ve started and sold 2 companies and are working on our 3rd company and have never had any issues. In the startup phase you have many sleepless nights, extremely stressful situations and long hours of hard work this tests you and your partner, if you don’t work well with something likely your relationship will go down hill during this stressful time. The same goes with selling a business, you’re working long hours and engaged in intense negotiations along with having potential buyers comb through your entire life, you need to be a rock and so does your business partner. Potential buyers are trying to wear you down to get a better deal, you need to have determination and persistence to work through hard times.

I have to say we’ve really never had any issues, Ryan and I work really great together and have never had any issues.

4.) People are looking for new business partners all the time. As someone who has been through the process, what are three characteristics that make up a great business partner?

This is a great question and an area that I think a lot of new business people make big mistakes. Many people will partner up because they are friends, or they come up with a good idea together, but these things having nothing to do with making a good working relationship. When your partnering with someone on a business your committing yourself to work long hours almost every day for years and years. If you don’t really know someone or have any experience working with a person I would suggest doing a trial phase.

See if the person has the below 3 characteristics;

a) Trust – This is number 1, can you trust your business partner with tens of thousands of dollars, what about millions of dollars? You’ll be sharing a bank account, credit cards, and checks you need to know that your partner is honest and responsible with money. There will be so many things you need to trust your partner with, its essential you can trust each other. Without this your business is doomed.

b) Work ethic – Another extremely important quality. The last thing you want to do is partner up with someone who doesn’t share your work ethic, you need a partner who will show up every day, work hard and get things done. Owning a business is about doing things many others wont, long hours and hard work are part of the game. If your partner isn’t keeping up with his end of the deal it will create a toxic relationship that will rip apart the business.

d) Common Goals – You both need to have the same vision and goals for the business. If your goal is to build a company and sell it in 5 years but your partners goal is to build a company that he keeps forever then you may have a problem on your hands. If you’re partner wants a small business as side income yet you want to build a large organization then you will be at odds and it will cause problems for the business. Make sure you both have common goals and an agreed 2 year, 5 year and 10 year plan for the business.

5.) What advice do you have for someone that is using the internet as a way to search out a potential business partner or investor for their business?

My advice would be to be selective in who you choose to partner with and or have invest in your business. You’ll be spending more time with this person then your own family or your best friend. You need to know you can trust this person and that they have the 3 aspects I listed above. I think people to often jump to get an investment not taking into account who they are getting the money from. An investor will be your boss, so you better make sure you pick the right person. I personally have never had 1 investor in any of my companies and firmly believe that anyone can start and build a great company without any investors, hard work will get you much father then you think.

Special thanks to Logan and Ryan for taking the time to share their story, knowledge and experience with the many entrepreneurs and brands who rely on the internet as their platform to reach and conduct business throughout the world.