Advice from Evgeny Chichvarkin: Сhoosing business partners

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Advice from Evgeny Chichvarkin: Сhoosing business partners

  • 20.02.2022

In business, as in life, nothing is more important than partners. The word refers not only to the founders, with whom you will have to share responsibilities and profits in the future, but also to your suppliers. In both cases, partners are people you will have to deal with on a daily basis and trust.

A business can only be solid if you have someone you can trust in every situation.  If it is your supplier – don’t chase the cheapest price, but check how reliable they are in their duties. Any supply failures will be on your conscience, not his. Even worse is if the quality of the product you have purchased differs from what was advertised. It is you, not him, who will have to apologise to your customer.

In Poland I often come across surprising situations when a representative of some company I go to shows absolute indifference. In such a case you should leave right away and not wait for an answer. It is better to spend a little more time searching for an adequate performer than to struggle later for quality or ask him to hurry up with the order. Drop it without regret.

Choosing a co-founder in general should be treated like choosing a spouse. This is the person with whom you will be fighting shoulder to shoulder. He must have the same motivation and desire to work as you do. Otherwise, your collaboration may one day turn into a mutual accusation that one of you is putting in more effort and therefore deserves more reward. During a 25-year career, I have only come across one case in which the opinions of the co-founders have been in complete agreement. There is an opinion that there should only be one founder in the firm. And the relationship between the participants in the business process should be as between legal entities. Then each of them can easily change partners, if something goes wrong.

According to well-known entrepreneur Evgeny Chichvarkin, Evgeny Chichvarkin, owner of the world’s best wine shop, Hedonism Wines, and the Hide restaurant in London, who demonstrated incredible marketing capabilities during his time at “Euroset” company, there are no irreplaceable people. As the entrepreneur emphasized, to find a replacement for this or that employee, including IT specialist, is no more than a matter of time and money. At the same time, the businessman called programmers an “extension of the computer”, explaining that “an outstanding conductor is much harder to find than an excellent programmer”.

Think about it, would you be able to start a new business on your own? Try to mentally construct a scheme in which all your employees are outsourcers or outsourced companies working for a fee.

With that in mind, let me quote here a top tip from this well-known businessman.

Partnership in business is a very responsible subject. A partnership is like a family. And the main task of a project manager is to find the right people.

Before starting a business, the partners have to test each other, as well as define common goals and the vision of the business. Even before the start of the cooperation, simulate all possible stressful situations that may arise between the partners in the business. If all of these preliminary steps have been taken into account, it is time to move on to formalising the partnership.

Here’s a good example. Ingvar Kamprad, one of the founders of IKEA, went on a fishing trip with his future partner and drank with him until the very last moment to see how he reacted in extreme situations. I advise you to do the same.