All about collaborating with a partner

Are you looking for a (fellow) freelancer so you can carry out large assignments together? Or do you want to further develop and market your invention together with others, in co-creation? Working together can be done in various ways. Read how to find a partner that suits you and how to build a strong collaboration with each other.

Think of the entrepreneurial skills (in Dutch) that are necessary for success. Which skills do you have and which do you not master well enough yourself. For example, are you good at sales? Then the monthly VAT return might not be where you shine. Or maybe you have 1001 ideas, but you cannot manage to make money with them. Or you do not know the right people.

Find a business partner who complements you and is strong where you are weaker. Test your entrepreneurial skills (in Dutch). If necessary, take an assessment or personality test.

1. What do you bring?

Create a profile of who you are and what you need, just like in a job advertisement. This will make it clear to you and your future business partner what you have to offer and what exactly you are looking for:

You and your partner

  • What roles do each of you have toward your common goal? Are you the creator, implementer, seller, upscaler, or connector?
  • What type of personality are you looking for: someone with guts who takes risks, someone who prefers to follow the rules, someone who makes quick decisions, someone who carefully weighs all the pros and cons, etc.
  • What are conditions that are absolutely needed? Expertise? Access to new distribution channels? Storage space for distribution? In short: what do you bring? And what should your partner bring?

How you want to organise it

  • How do you divide the tasks: who does what? And who will take the lead?
  • How do you see your role in a year's time? And the more distant future: do you want to work intensively for a few years and then sell the company? Or do you want to continue running it until you retire?
  • Which culture suits your company or new market? An innovative 'startup-like' culture? A people-oriented culture that puts the recruitment of sustainable talent first? Or a sustainable company culture?
  • How much time can you put into the company?

Inside or outside your industry, chain, region, or industry?

  • Are you looking for someone local, from a certain region, or a completely different country?
  • Is it useful for your partner to come from a specific industry?

2. Finding a partner

You may also find your new collaboration partner in your own network. Or in the network of family, customers, or suppliers. Usually, contacts will prefer to connect you with a personal introduction. Have you still mot found the right match? Continue your search in these places:

Online

  • social media, such as on LinkedIn, in Facebook groups or on X (formerly Twitter)
  • forums, such as entrepreneurial forum Higherlevel.nl

Networking

  • Trade fairs, business cafés, meetings of trade or business associations, and other network meetings. There are many events on the Meetup website.
  • Incubators, multi-company buildings, (co)workspaces.

Government and education

For partners abroad

3. Check out your business partner

It is important to be sure who you will be doing business with. So find out if your partner is who they say they are. You can do this via the internet or in your network. But you can also:

  • View a registration in the KVK Business Register. There you can check whether a company exists, is bankrupt, is in suspension of payment, or is undergoing debt restructuring. For private limited companies (bv), annual accounts are often also available in addition to the statutory data.
  • Request a certified extract from KVK. This way you have proof that a company is legally registered, and you know who is officially the owner and authorised to sign.
  • You can request Business Register information about companies in other European countries via the European Business Register.
  • The UBO register makes it more transparent who is in charge at Dutch organisations. This is to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.

4. Agreements in writing

Can you both see possibilities for a collaboration? Agree on how to go about it and lay it down in a cooperation agreement. This will prevent disagreements or ambiguities. Think about things like:

  • How much time and money will each of you invest?
  • What to do with the results (profit, dividend) and how to divide them among the partners;
  • Settlement of costs;
  • Who is responsible for loss and debt;
  • Who owns products and knowledge;
  • Are confidentiality agreements needed?
  • Non-competition and/or non-solicitation clause;
  • How long will the partnership last?
  • Who is allowed to make which decisions?
  • Who is/are authorised to sign?;
  • Who ensures compliance with the agreements;
  • Can partners join or withdraw?;
  • Dispute settlement: how to deal with differences of opinion and how to resolve them;
  • Possibility to change your agreements or end your collaboration.

Consult a lawyer if you want to be sure that your contract is sound. If necessary, take out business partner's insurance.