#25: How do you find the right Associates?

Finding the right associates for your business is not the easiest of tasks. Nor is it the hardest, so there is a bright side! We will take a similar approach to this as we did with finding business partners. There is a broadly similar set of criteria you may wish to apply for selecting people you would identify and deploy to do specific work, either independently or as part of a team.

Take a look at the scorecard below and use this as a way of identifying who would be best suited to your business and current team:


1 Demonstrable integrity/trustworthy
2 Established track record and reputation for delivery
3 Relationship builder
4 Communication skills (inc listening)
5 Discernment/judgement/”rapid framing”
6 Professional and reliable
7 Confidence and courage
8 Responsiveness
9 Authentic
10 Technical excellence


The key differences from the business partner criteria are:

  • They do not need to demonstrate that they can operate independently. Most likely they will be working as part of a team, or alongside you.
  • They do not need to be able to source work (would be great if they could!). It is probably more important that they can build a relationship with the client staff with whom they need to collaborate.
  • They are unlikely to be seizing the initiative in terms of identifying and progressing sales opportunities (again a bonus if they can – hence the listening skills requirement), but they do need to be able to assess situations quickly and make recommendations based on what their analysis is telling them.
  • They need to be good representatives of the firm, rather than “being” the firm.
  • They need to be perceived as being responsive.
  • It is not necessarily important that they see the “big picture”; more that they deal efficiently and effectively with what needs doing.

It is really down to you how you assess and score such candidates. Again I would suggest 70% as an acceptable “qualifying score”, with no individual aspect scoring below 5. Equally, you are free to adapt the criteria to suit your personal preference – I would encourage you to view this list as indicative.

It may also be the case that you would test people in an associate capacity before contemplating bringing them on to the payroll – a good way of reducing the risk of hiring the wrong person. It is easier to let an associate go than let an employee go!

Let me know how you get on with your score cards, and if you want to discuss your options further then please get in touch.

Posted in: Growing Businesses

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