How to find reliable business partners


I've been trying to get involved, get my name out there, and network with fellow local entrepreneurs in my area. I am a 22 year old developer/designer, student and entrepreneur at heart.

From what I've found so far:

  1. People who work in industry - They say: " 'sure' I want to create a business $X and here is the idea. I kinda-sorta have time after work to work on a startup, but not much at all on weekends. "
  2. Students (at my current University) - They say: "oh yeah, I want to have my own business $x" and here's the idea......". They then are so focused on getting an A+ rather than a B+ (and instead striving to create a business from the ground up).
  3. People on Meetup Sites - They usually have an idea of some sorts, so I go to meet them locally for a meal or coffee. They usually already have an established team of founders, or atleast one founder (who usually isn't the person I am meeting) and seem to just want to look for someone to help code $x application, without any say on the idea.

It seems students and people in industry (or individuals with families or other obligations) seem to want (or able) to do the LEAST amount of work. You would think it would be the opposite for like-minded individuals still in school.

I will continue to keep networking locally, but it seems to people I have found just aren't what I'm looking for. Is there something I should be doing that I'm not? Who should I try to stay away from?

Getting Started Business Partnerships Entrepreneurship

asked Sep 2 '11 at 23:57
229 points
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4 Answers


I think the most reliable business partners come from people you've had a long standing work relationship with, whether it be from school or at a previous company.

At 22, it would be a good time to join a startup even at the lowest level. The connections your going to make are worth more then any pay or equity your going to receive.

Twitter started while the team was working on a neat little music startup called Odeo when Jack Dorsey scribbled a few notes about a new SMS messaging service and presented it to the group in a brainstorming contest.

This is how teams and new startups are born. You see this happening all the time. Co-workers at Google founded Friendfeed. Ex-PayPal employees go on to create Youtube.

Join a startup in an area that your passionate about. The most equally passionate people in your company will make your best partners.

How Twitter started:

answered Sep 3 '11 at 06:16
353 points
  • Agreed! In my experience, friends who turn into coworkers have been a bad idea. On the other hand, coworkers who then turned into friends are people who I know to be both talented and reliable. Joining a startup is the fastest way to meet like-minded individuals and also start building strong bonds with them. Not to mention the experience you gain by watching the whole process. – Alex 12 years ago


Your question is a great one. Finding reliable business partners is never easy. If you don't have existing relationships on which to depend, then you just need to go out and meet as many people as you can.

Think of it as going on a lot of interviews in order to find the perfect job, or going on a lot of dates to find the perfect spouse. It takes a lot of work but, as the old saying goes, anything worth while takes effort.

In short, talk to people from school, find sites where people geographically close to you post and see if any have something interesting to say. Just try to meet as many people as you can and keep a solid list of questions to ask so that you can start weeding out the people who you know won't mesh well with you. Eventually, you'll end up with some gems.

answered Sep 6 '11 at 09:44
1,194 points
  • John, this is what I'm currently trying to do is meeting people from local entrepreneur groups. So far they have fallen into the "#1)People who work in industry" group. Should I just keep chugging and meeting people or should I just work on an idea and find partners later? – User9968 12 years ago


Meet people. Lots of people. Meet the type of people you want to work with. For example, other startups.

If you have an idea, talk about that idea. To everyone you meet.

For what it's worth, my experience of open coffee type meetups isn't good. Lots of people that want to talk, but not so many that do. Instead I would look to attend hackathon, or Startup Weekend type events, where you can actually form relationships in a short time based on how you work together.

answered Feb 21 '12 at 21:35
Nick Stevens
4,436 points


Hah is your variable $x above a PHP variable ;)

I'm an active entrepreneur and have a successful web design / dev business and still code and design for fun. I wrote over the weekend in Rails just because we had a couple people who wanted to do an idea.

I had the most time and energy when I was in school, but was probably in your same boat. Not enough students that knew a lick and wasn't plugged in enough with business in the area.

I would say finding some solid student partners would be the most beneficial. You'll have a learning curve but if you can find some people that can be inspired by the ideas they will take the time to learn. If you can't build a student team get an internship at a local web development company that does lots of consulting so you can get a good foundation and start getting plugged in to the community and learn enough to start on some ideas

answered Sep 3 '11 at 14:36
Ryan Doom
5,472 points

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