300 Questions to Ask a Potential Business Partner

Starting a new business partnership? That’s an exciting step forward! But it’s a lot like entering a new friendship or marriage. You want to make sure you’re a great match. 

Asking the right questions can help you understand each other better. It’s all about figuring out if you both can dream, work, and, yes, sometimes argue together productively

In this article, we’ve got some crucial questions you should consider asking to find the perfect business partner. Let’s get started!

Questions To Ask About Their Business Background And Experience

  1. What was your first job?
  2. What kind of businesses have you worked for before?
  3. Have you ever owned a business yourself?
  4. Can you tell me about a time when you faced a tough business challenge and how you handled it?
  5. What was your role in your previous company?
  6. Have you ever been in a partnership before?
  7. What were some successes in your past business experiences?
  8. What were some failures or challenges you’ve learned from?
  9. How do you make critical business decisions?
  10. Can you give an example of a successful business strategy you implemented?
  11. What experience do you have with managing teams?
  12. Do you have any experience with business finances, like budgeting or accounting?
  13. Have you ever had to deal with a crisis in a company? How did you manage it?
  14. Can you tell me about your experience with customer service?
  15. Have you ever had to fire someone? How did you handle it?
  16. What kind of business network do you have?
  17. Do you have any relevant training or qualifications for our potential business?
  18. Have you ever had to negotiate a business deal? How did it go?
  19. Why are you interested in partnering in this business? 
  20. What do you think you can bring to the table?
  21. Do you have any experience in a startup environment?
  22. Have you ever taken a product or service from concept to market?
  23. What’s your experience with business legal matters, like contracts or trademarks?
  24. Can you share any experience you have with digital marketing?
  25. How comfortable are you with technology and new software?
  26. Have you ever worked in a multicultural or international business environment?
  27. What’s your approach to resolving disagreements or conflicts in a business setting?
  28. How have you handled business competition in the past?
  29. Can you share a time when you innovated or improved a process in a past business role?
  30. How comfortable are you speaking in front of groups or presenting proposals?
  31. What experience do you have in hiring and training employees?
  32. Have you ever been in a failing business, and how did you handle it?
  33. How do you deal with stress and high-pressure situations in business?
  34. What was your most successful project or role so far?
  35. Can you share your experience with business planning and setting goals?
  36. Do you have any sales experience?
  37. Have you had any experience with franchising or licensing?
  38. What’s your approach to maintaining a good work-life balance while running a business?
  39. Can you share any examples of how you’ve adapted to changes in a past business environment?
  40. Have you ever had experience with mergers or acquisitions?
  41. How do you handle feedback and criticism in a professional setting?
  42. Can you tell me about your biggest career influence or mentor?
  43. Have you ever worked in our specific market segment before?
  44. Can you describe a time when you had to pivot or change direction in your business strategy?
  45. Do you have any experience with e-commerce or online business?
  46. What’s the biggest business opportunity you’ve identified and capitalized on?
  47. How do you stay updated on industry trends and news?
  48. Have you ever turned around a struggling business or department? How did you do it?
  49. Can you describe your experience with project management?
  50. What’s your track record with meeting deadlines and staying on schedule in your past roles?
  51. Have you ever written a business plan or strategic plan?
  52. How do you approach customer or client retention?
  53. Have you worked with remote or virtual teams? 
  54. What was your approach to keeping everyone on track?
  55. Can you describe an instance when you had to overcome significant obstacles to achieve a business goal?

Questions To Ask About Their Industry Knowledge

  1. Can you describe the current trends in our industry?
  2. What major changes have you seen in this industry over your career?
  3. Who do you think are the top three competitors in our industry, and why?
  4. Can you tell me about any emerging technologies that are impacting our industry?
  5. How do you stay up-to-date with industry news and changes?
  6. How would you handle regulatory changes in our industry?
  7. What industry associations or groups are you a part of?
  8. Can you explain the customer demographics for our industry?
  9. What’s your experience with the supply chain related to our industry?
  10. What are some common challenges businesses in our industry face?
  11. Can you describe any legislation or laws that significantly affect our industry?
  12. Who are the major players in our industry, and what sets them apart?
  13. How do you see our industry evolving over the next five years?
  14. What marketing strategies work best in our industry, in your experience?
  15. Can you discuss past economic cycles and how they affected our industry?
  16. What’s the most innovative thing you’ve seen a company do in our industry?
  17. How would you identify and approach potential clients in our industry?
  18. Can you give examples of effective pricing strategies in our industry?
  19. What skills or knowledge do you think are most important in our industry?
  20. How have customer needs and preferences changed in our industry recently?
  21. What unique industry challenges should our business prepare for?
  22. Can you describe any essential cultural or societal factors that influence our industry?
  23. How does our industry typically handle customer service and support?
  24. What are the ethical considerations unique to our industry?
  25. Have you ever witnessed an industry crisis? How was it managed?
  26. Can you talk about the seasonal trends in our industry?
  27. How would you leverage social media for a business in our industry?
  28. Are there any crucial certifications or qualifications relevant to our industry?
  29. How has e-commerce affected our industry?
  30. What is the role of research and development in our industry?
  31. Can you identify any barriers to entry in our industry?
  32. How important is networking within our industry?
  33. What role does sustainability play in our industry?
  34. Can you describe any industry-specific software or tools we should be familiar with?
  35. What safety considerations or standards are important in our industry?
  36. Can you explain the role of outsourcing in our industry?
  37. How do businesses in our industry usually expand or scale up?
  38. How does our industry typically manage relationships with suppliers?
  39. Can you describe how customer feedback shapes businesses in our industry?
  40. How does our industry typically approach corporate social responsibility?
  41. Can you describe any global trends impacting our industry?
  42. How has technology been used to drive growth in our industry?
  43. What key performance indicators (KPIs) are most important in our industry?
  44. Are there any specific policies or procedures that are standard in our industry?
  45. Can you identify potential markets our industry hasn’t fully tapped into yet?
  46. What role does data analysis play in our industry?
  47. How does our industry typically deal with public relations and crisis management?
  48. How does our industry handle changes in political climate or policies?
  49. How do businesses in our industry typically build their brand identity?
  50. What’s your understanding of the investment landscape for our industry?
  51. How does automation affect our industry?
  52. What is the impact of digital transformation on our industry?
  53. Can you discuss any diversity and inclusion practices common in our industry?
  54. What are the key sustainability challenges and opportunities in our industry?
  55. Can you identify any disruptive models or companies in our industry?
  56. How does the local, national, and international economy affect our industry?
  57. Can you describe the sales cycle in our industry?
  58. How does our industry deal with issues related to intellectual property and patents?

Questions To Ask About Their Business Vision

  1. What is your vision for our potential business together?
  2. Where do you see our business in 5 years?
  3. How do you plan to differentiate our business from the competition?
  4. What values do you think should guide our business decisions?
  5. Can you describe what success would look like for our business?
  6. What growth strategies do you envision for our business?
  7. How do you see our business fitting into the larger industry landscape?
  8. What social impact do you want our business to have?
  9. What’s the main problem you see our business solving for customers?
  10. How would you describe the culture you want to cultivate in our business?
  11. How should our business use technology to achieve its goals?
  12. What types of collaborations should our business pursue?
  13. How do you envision us handling setbacks or failures in our business?
  14. What would you like our business’s reputation to be in the industry and community?
  15. How do you see our product or service offerings evolving over time?
  16. What do you envision our business’s financial situation looking like in the future?
  17. What role do you see innovation playing in our business?
  18. How do you want our business to engage with and give back to the community?
  19. How do you want to measure the success of our business?
  20. What markets do you think our business should aim to enter in the future?
  21. What qualities do you think our future employees should possess?
  22. Can you share your vision for our business’s brand identity?
  23. How do you think our business should handle the competition?
  24. What opportunities do you see for our business to leverage technology for growth?
  25. What’s your vision for the geographical expansion of our business?
  26. What’s your vision for pricing our product or service in the market?
  27. How should our business incorporate innovation and creativity into our strategy?
  28. How do you envision our business maintaining its core values as it grows and evolves?

Questions To Ask About Their Financial Stability

  1. How financially stable are you at the moment?
  2. Have you ever declared bankruptcy? If so, can you explain the circumstances?
  3. Do you have any outstanding debts that could impact our business?
  4. Are you prepared to make a financial investment in our business? If so, how much?
  5. How do you manage your personal finances?
  6. Have you ever been audited by the IRS or any other financial institution? What was the outcome?
  7. How is your credit score? Has it affected your business operations before?
  8. Have you ever faced any legal issues related to finances?
  9. Do you have a steady source of income outside of our potential business venture?
  10. Have you ever had a financial dispute with a previous business partner?
  11. How would you handle a situation where the business is in financial trouble?
  12. Do you have savings set aside that could help in case of a business emergency?
  13. Have you ever failed to pay taxes or face penalties for financial mismanagement?
  14. Are you able to provide proof of your financial stability?
  15. What is your plan for managing personal financial risks while running a business?
  16. How financially committed are you to making this potential business a success?
  17. Do you have any liabilities that could impact our business?
  18. How do you plan to fund your lifestyle while the business is still growing?
  19. Can you comfortably afford to lose the money you’re investing in this business if things don’t go as planned?
  20. Have you ever had a lien or judgment against you or a business you’ve been involved with?
  21. Are you currently supporting anyone financially, like a child or other dependents?
  22. How much personal debt do you have, including mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and so on?
  23. Do you have any major financial commitments in the near future, like purchasing a home or funding a child’s education?
  24. Have you ever invested in a business venture before? If so, what was the result?
  25. Can you provide references from bankers or other financial professionals you’ve worked with?
  26. Are you insured adequately to protect your assets?
  27. Can you discuss your experience with cash flow management?
  28. What is your approach to setting pricing strategies?
  29. Have you ever taken out a business loan or other form of business financing?
  30. Do you have a financial advisor or accountant who assists you with your finances?
  31. How have your previous investments performed?
  32. Have you ever faced any challenges or disputes related to your personal or business taxes?
  33. How would you handle a situation where our business experiences a financial downturn?
  34. What’s your approach to budgeting and saving in your personal life?
  35. How do you handle your investments and assets for long-term financial stability?
  36. What’s your experience with financial forecasting and planning for a business?
  37. Have you ever been involved in a financial fraud case, even as a witness or victim?
  38. How have you prepared for retirement, and could it affect our business venture?

Questions To Ask About Their Management Style

  1. How would you describe your management style?
  2. How do you deal with conflicts within the team?
  3. What values are most important to you when leading a team?
  4. How do you handle underperforming team members?
  5. How do you approach decision-making?
  6. Are you more data-driven or intuition-based?
  7. How do you motivate and inspire your team during tough times?
  8. How do you ensure clear communication with your team?
  9. How much autonomy do you typically give your team members?
  10. How do you handle feedback about your management style?
  11. Can you provide an example of a project that didn’t go as planned and how you managed it?
  12. What’s your approach to professional development and training for your team?
  13. How do you set priorities and goals for your team?
  14. What role does work-life balance play in your management approach?
  15. How do you cultivate a positive work culture?
  16. How do you ensure you’re accessible and approachable as a leader?
  17. Can you describe a time when you had to change your management approach? Why?
  18. How do you celebrate successes and milestones with your team?
  19. How do you handle stress or pressure, especially when leading a team?
  20. What’s your approach to making tough decisions that might be unpopular?
  21. How do you manage different personalities within a team?
  22. How important is team building for you, and how do you foster it?
  23. How do you approach innovation and creativity within a team setting?
  24. How often do you provide feedback to team members, and in what manner?
  25. What’s your take on mentorship? 
  26. Have you mentored someone before?
  27. How do you handle situations where you might not have all the answers?
  28. Can you describe a time you had to manage a project with limited resources? How did you handle it?
  29. What role does transparency play in your management approach?
  30. How do you handle disagreements with higher-ups or stakeholders?
  31. What’s your approach to diversity and inclusion within a team setting?
  32. How do you ensure that team members feel valued and recognized?
  33. How do you adapt your management style for remote or virtual teams?
  34. How do you balance between being a leader and being a friend to your team?

Questions To Ask About Their Expectations

  1. What are your expectations in terms of my role and responsibilities in the partnership?
  2. How much time do you expect to dedicate to our business partnership on a weekly basis?
  3. What are your financial expectations for our business in the short term and long term?
  4. What expectations do you have regarding decision-making processes in our partnership?
  5. What expectations do you have for communication within our partnership?
  6. How do you expect to share in the profits and losses of the business?
  7. What are your expectations for our business’s growth and expansion?
  8. What are your expectations for work-life balance while running our business?
  9. What kind of timeline do you have in mind for starting to see a return on our investment?
  10. What do you expect in terms of commitment and dedication from me as your business partner?
  11. What are your expectations for handling risk and uncertainty in our business?
  12. What are your expectations in terms of ethical standards and business conduct?
  13. What kind of culture and values do you expect to build within our business?
  14. What are your expectations for personal investments in the business?
  15. How do you wish us to divide responsibilities for hiring and managing staff?
  16. What are your expectations regarding how we’ll respond to competition?
  17. How do you see us working on our personal relationship alongside the business partnership?
  18. What’s your expectation on the timeline for achieving our major business milestones?
  19. What are your expectations regarding our individual development and growth within the business?
  20. How do you expect us to work on our individual strengths and weaknesses in running the business?

Questions To Ask About Their Risk-taking Approach

  1. How would you describe your overall approach to risk in business?
  2. Can you share an example where you took a risk in a business context, and it paid off?
  3. Can you share an example where you took a risk that didn’t turn out well? What did you learn from it?
  4. How do you assess whether a risk is worth taking or not?
  5. What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in business?
  6. How do you balance between taking risks and maintaining stability in a business?
  7. How do you manage risks when venturing into new markets or launching new products?
  8. How do you react when a risk you’ve taken isn’t panning out as expected?
  9. How do you communicate about risks to stakeholders?
  10. What kind of risk management strategies or tools do you use?
  11. How much financial risk are you comfortable with?
  12. Are you more inclined towards strategic risks or operational risks?
  13. How do you approach risks that could potentially harm the business’s reputation?
  14. Do you believe in the saying “No Risk, No Reward“? Why or why not?
  15. How have your past experiences shaped your approach to risk-taking in business?
  16. In what situations do you think it’s necessary to take a risk?
  17. How do you mitigate the possible negative impacts of a risk?
  18. How do you make sure the potential reward outweighs the potential loss when taking a risk?
  19. How do you handle situations where a risk results in significant failure or loss?
  20. Have you ever regretted not taking a risk in business?
  21. How do you ensure that risk-taking aligns with the overall business strategy?
  22. How do you build a culture that encourages calculated risk-taking in a team or business?
  23. How do you approach risks associated with hiring, such as bringing on a new team member with a different background?
  24. Are you more of a frequent risk-taker or do you prefer a more cautious approach?
  25. How has your risk-taking approach evolved over your career?

Questions To Ask About Their Networking And Partnership Histories

  1. Can you tell me about some important professional relationships you’ve built?
  2. How have you leveraged your network in your previous business ventures?
  3. What’s the most valuable partnership you’ve formed, and why was it beneficial?
  4. Have you ever had a partnership that didn’t work out? If so, what happened?
  5. How do you maintain long-term professional relationships?
  6. How have you used networking to overcome a business challenge?
  7. Can you share an example of a time when a professional connection greatly benefited your business?
  8. How do you approach networking events?
  9. How do you handle disagreements or conflicts in a partnership?
  10. Have you ever co-founded a business? 
  11. If so, how was that experience?
  12. How do you add value to your professional relationships and partnerships?
  13. How has your network helped you in acquiring new clients or customers?
  14. Can you share an example of a win-win situation you’ve created with a business partner?
  15. How do you approach potential partners or investors for your business?
  16. How do you handle situations when a partner isn’t meeting your expectations?
  17. Can you share an example of a successful collaboration with a partner?
  18. Have you ever exited a partnership? 
  19. If so, how did you manage the process?
  20. What qualities do you look for in potential business partners?
  21. Can you share any insights you’ve gained from your networking and partnership histories?
  22. Have you ever been involved in a partnership that involved a significant cultural or language barrier? How did you navigate this?
  23. Can you provide references from past partners or colleagues who can vouch for your collaboration style?
  24. How do you handle maintaining partnerships when business goals diverge?
  25. How do you leverage social media for networking and building partnerships?
  26. Have you ever had to repair a professional relationship that turned sour? How did you handle that?
  27. How have your networking skills helped in times of business crisis or downturn?
  28. What is your biggest challenge in a partnership, and how did you overcome it?
  29. Have you ever turned a competitor into a collaborator? If yes, how did you do it?
  30. Can you give an example of a partnership that greatly exceeded your expectations?
  31. How do you approach networking and partnerships in industries different from your own?
  32. How do you ensure that both sides are benefiting in a business partnership?
  33. How would your past or present business partners describe you?
  34. How have you improved your networking skills over time?
  35. How have you navigated a situation where a business partner became a competitor?
  36. Have you ever built a business relationship with someone significantly different from you in terms of culture, language, or business style? How did you make it work?
  37. Have you ever entered a partnership outside of your comfort zone? How did you handle it?
  38. Have you ever had to renegotiate the terms of a partnership? How did you approach it?
  39. Can you discuss an instance where you had to handle a sensitive issue with a partner or within your network?
  40. Have you ever turned a personal relationship into a business partnership? How did that go?
  41. What key lessons have you learned from past partnerships that you would bring into our potential partnership?
  42. Have you ever collaborated with a partner located in a different time zone? What were the challenges, and how did you handle them?

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I prepare for meeting a potential business partner?

Preparation is key. Before the meeting:

Do your homework: Find out as much as you can about your potential partner and their business.

Know your business: Be clear about your own business goals and what you want from a partner.

Prepare your questions: Write down the questions you want to ask and think about the answers you hope to hear.

What if their answers to my questions raise concerns?

If the responses from your potential business partner spark worries, don’t ignore these feelings. Seek further clarity by asking more questions. 

If your concerns persist, have a direct and respectful conversation about your apprehensions. It’s possible that these concerns can be resolved through open communication.

However, if these worries continue or aren’t addressed satisfactorily, it may be a sign this partnership isn’t the right fit. A business partnership requires trust and confidence; if their answers cause doubts, it’s crucial to reconsider. 

Always trust your instincts when it comes to choosing a partner for your business.

What traits should I look for in a potential business partner?

A good business partner should:

Have skills and experience that complement yours. They should bring something to the table that you don’t.

Share your business values and goals. You need to be heading in the same direction.

Be someone you trust. You’ll be working closely together, so trust is crucial.

Be someone you can communicate with. Open and honest communication is vital in a business partnership.

How do I approach sensitive questions like financial stability or past business failures?

When bringing up sensitive questions such as financial stability or past business failures, it’s crucial to frame them in a non-judgmental way. 

Instead of directly asking about their financial health or past failures, ask about lessons they’ve learned from past business experiences or how they manage the financial aspects of a business. This shows your intention is not to pry but to understand how they handle tough situations.

Understanding their past and how they’ve dealt with difficulties can give you valuable insights into their character, resilience, and decision-making abilities. It’s not about highlighting failures but learning from them. 

Remember, everyone has faced challenges; what matters most is how they’ve grown from these experiences, which can contribute significantly to the future success of your shared venture.

Is it okay to turn down a potential business partner?

Yes, it’s perfectly okay to turn down a potential partner. If you don’t think it’s the right fit for your business, it’s better to say no than to get into a partnership that might not work out.


Finding the right business partner isn’t just about business plans and profits. It’s about getting to know each other, understanding how you both work and ensuring your visions align. 

Remember, it’s okay to ask tough questions. After all, a solid partnership is built on honesty, transparency, and mutual respect. 

So go ahead, take these questions, and find a business partner who not only shares your vision but can also turn it into reality. Good luck!

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Robby Salveron

Robby is a multimedia editor at UpJourney with a journalism and communications background.

When she's not working, Robby transforms into an introverted art lover who indulges in her love for sports, learning new things, and sipping her favorite soda. She also enjoys unwinding with feel-good movies, books, and video games. She's also a proud pet parent to her beloved dog, Dustin.