How to Choose a Great Business Sidekick

Your business is doing well, and you’ve managed to navigate some challenges on your own. Yet there are times you feel you could use a faithful number two – a sidekick who might just be the difference between doing well and knocking it out of the park.

What should you look for in a person of this caliber? We take a look at some noteworthy number ones, the qualities they looked for in a sidekick, and how their choices helped them excel beyond all expectations.

Abraham Lincoln and William Seward, Former Rivals

Lincoln and Seward began as rivals, challenging each other for their party’s nomination. When Lincoln eventually won and went on to become president, he chose Seward to be his secretary of state. Seward’s pragmatic outlook made him a worthy foil to the idealistic Lincoln, which made great achievements like the passage of the thirteenth amendment that abolished slavery possible.

Takeaway: Opposites can make good sidekicks. Someone different from you will champion opposing viewpoints and push you – and your business – farther.

Another Take: Gap and Levi rivals Gabrey Means and Cassie Hughes join forces to start their own company. Learn more here.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Co-Conspirators

It’s hard to think of Apple’s early days without linking the two Steves. Jobs, the visionary, and Wozniak, the prodigy, worked side-by-side to revolutionize an entire industry. Sure, they wrestled with issues and often disagreed, yet they faced down challenges together and ultimately prevailed.

Takeaway: Sidekicks can be equals. Someone who’s as driven or as smart as you can be an asset who elevates your success, not a threat.

Another Take: John Lennon and Paul McCartney, co-creators.

Caroline Ghosn and Amanda Pouchot, Fate’s Choice

Levo League, a networking vehicle for professional women, is the brainchild of Ghosn and Pouchot. Yet this innovative and empowering online entity may never have been developed had these two not crossed paths while working together briefly in the same office.

Takeaway: Chance can play a role. Someone standing behind you in line at the coffee shop or sitting next to you on the plane could be the sidekick you need to push your business to greatness. Keep your eyes and ears open.

Another take: Chance meeting leads to breakthrough physiotherapy business.

The Property Brothers, Sibling Sidekicks

Perhaps no sidekicks complement each other quite as successfully as HGTV’s ‘Property Brothers.’ Not only do they know each other like the back of their identical hands, they each provide a service the other needs to be successful. Drew finds the homes while brother Jonathan rehabs them for an all-in-the-family solution.

Takeaway: Don’t rule out family. Someone who’s related to you can be the foil you need to be successful, especially when you’re running a family business.

Another take: The Wright Brothers elevate their business goals to successfully accomplish flight.

Final take

While the choice you make in a sidekick is a personal decision, you’ll increase your chances of finding the right one by keeping in mind the traits and circumstances outlined here.

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