My business partner looks after operations, which he does competently, but he has no vision for the company. I’m wondering if I should find a business partner who is a bit more passionate and inventive, or is it a good idea to have someone who is just steady and reliable? I feel I need someone to bounce ideas off and he doesn’t think much more beyond the mechanics of the business.
You’re dealing with two different problems here, and you need to separate them.
The first problem is the need for balance between the ‘visionary’ creative entrepreneurial type and the somewhat more prosaic operator.
Generally growing companies absolutely need to have both.
The visionary types are great at ideas and poor at detail, the operators vice-versa. So if you’re missing one, you’ll have problems.
It is often the case that the personalities of the two are quite different – which may be the case here – but that’s natural, and you’ll need to find a way to make that work.
Your second problem is your need for a ‘bounce off’ person – someone who you can kick things around with, who can help you to hone your vision for the company and match your passion for it.
They don’t necessarily need to be your business partner. It could be someone you respect who has another job but can spare you a few hours each month.
It could be a strategy person you hire full-time. Whichever you choose, they’ll need to be good at listening, experienced, and you have to have enough respect for them that you’re happy to be challenged by them.
It sounds like this person is not your current partner. That’s okay. This isn’t an either/or decision. Keep your partner focused on the nitty-gritty and find someone else to bounce things off.