My startup is an educational platform for marketing courses http://knowledge.ly . A similar model done well in another niche is http://codeschool.com . The company is profitable (but not funded), however to grow and evolve I need someone invested as a partner (I think :-). Ideally I would like someone experienced in digital publishing and distribution. Locating people is less difficult, it's the approach of running it by them, making sure it is structured correctly. etc.
Well, lets work backwards:
Structure is pretty simple: 4 year vest, 1 year cliff, for a percentage of the company that will match their commitment and unique contribution to the success of the venture.
Running it by them is pretty simple: Tell everyone you can about the problem, the assumptions you have about a solution, the vision for how your company can make some real money by solving a real problem. For each person you talk to, many will say, "That's nice, congratulations." And maybe one or two will say, "OMG, I want to be a part of that." Pick one of those.
Finally remember, 100% of $0 = $0.
Clearly it can get much more nuanced than this, and I'm happy to share some more strategies in each of these channels. But, end of the day, you just need as many at bats as you can find, and don't rush it.
FInding people who can be potential partners is an important step, but knowing who you are looking for should be part of your strategy. Just as when you are hiring you need to look for qualities that match your needs and also matches your preferences. Working closely with a business partner should not be painful (that does not mean there cannot be clashes).
Do you know your own strengths and weaknesses - not only technical and business but personal strengths and weaknesses? In Daniel Kahneman's 2011 book 'Thinking, Face and Slow' he discusses excellent information about how people approach thinking. If you understand your own thinking and decision making processes you might want to find a partner who helps balance your strengths and your weaknesses.
I recommend personality profiling and emotional intelligence profiling to help you sort your own performance strengths and weaknesses and consider who would be a good match to balance or counter-balance.
Certainly find someone who has the skills, qualifications and connections you need, but also remember that you have to work with this person and find someone who will enable you make the best decisions and take the most effective actions.
When evaluating a team member, there are a few key things to evaluate:
1. Does the team member have a complementary goal and ability to take on risk? If you are looking for a big exit, and your partner wants to make a nice living, your interests will not be aligned. Are they going to quit and work full time, like you?
2. Do all your team members have the skills to take the business where it needs to go? What's missing?
3. How connected are you to your suppliers, customers, sources of finance, accrediting bodies or other key relationships? Can your cofounder fill in those gaps?