Choosing the right partner in life, and in business

Every day is based on deciding between two or more options… Our choices shape our days, our life, they become pure reflection of who we are and who we (pre)tend to be… Our life is filled with career, and life style decisions on daily basis. When it comes to choosing our other half, it gets even trickier.


People say opposites attract, but do they last?
My limited experience has taught me that it is not about finding Mr. Right, nor that “opposites” attract each other, but about the match between two quite different characters who complement each other’s individuality. Simply put, it’s about our most profound need to find in the other what we lack.

And it’s a pretty smart thing to do, don’t you think?
This is just as true for business as it is for your personal relationships. You simply can’t be best at every single thing. Try and you’ll probably fail at everything. In the spirit of Robin Sharma’s philosophy:

The victim aims to do tons of projects, while The Icon Focuses on their Sistine Chapel.”

This is the very core logic of doing business today. We live in a connected world, a sharing economy as it is called or As-a-Service Economy where “know it all, own it all” doesn’t work anymore. Companies are increasingly using internet enabled devices and cloud technologies for partnering with third parties for mutual benefit. We have never been closer to Friedman’s reality of a flat world.


But how do you choose who to collaborate with? How do you choose your business partner?
Here, I will focus mostly on choosing the right outsourcing partner because is the area where I have most experience, but the recommendations given can be applied in every situation which involves a collaboration with an external partner.


  1. Choose a country abundant in talent where you lack skills

Collaboration, in the outsourcing industry particularly, happens more often across borders then onshore. In the past, only few regions have been labeled as attractive outsourcing locations, but today there is a new wave of outsourcing destinations rich with talent. The increase in options intensifies complexity of decision and choosing one option may feel overwhelming. Following our human need to find what we lack in the other, go for the country abundant in talent where you lack skills. Check for number of graduates in different fields, quality of education, and the multilingual potential.

  1. Ask for references, check experiences and financial health

After narrowing down your choice geographically, compare different vendors from the country based on their experience, capacity for human capital, financial stability and overall reputation. Ask them for references, but also do your own research. Admit it, even when you meet someone “promising” personally, you always check their FB profile, education, work, mutual friends, their interests etc. Do the same just from a business point of view. This could include types of clients worked for and the tasks performed, as well as experience and qualifications of team members. Financial stability is another area that needs to be assessed especially in cases where complete business function is being outsourced. The sad reality is that many check financial compatibility before starting a relationship. It’s a capitalistic world we live in. While personally this should not not be the solid ground for your relationship in business financial health of your partner is crucial for good risk-management.

  1. Ensure impeccable communication

Finally, the most important area for successful relationship, personally and in business is open and clear communication. Operating in the same time zone and common language sure eases the communication a lot, but the essential part is determining channels and frequency of communication. I have talked about this in more detail in a previous article of mine: Communication in outsourcing projects


My final advice: make sure you share common values, beliefs and understand each other’s long-term goals both in your personal and business relationships. Make sure you understand each other’s vision beyond the scope and benefits of the present project (date).