“Do I need a business partner?”
That’s a question that many solo entrepreneurs are faced with when starting a new venture or even when their business is taking off and they find that they need help in one way or another.
To find the right answer, ask yourself these questions:
Do you like having complete control?
If your first response is “Yes!” then you’re most probably going to struggle if you have to share the power. The best thing about having complete ownership of your business is that you get to make all the decisions.
However, a partner would offer more perspective on factors that you might not have considered. A closed-minded view is rarely the best approach when planning and executing business strategies. Having another person onboard could help you to look at the bigger picture.
Are you friends with or married/related to your potential partner?
Going into business with someone who’s close to you poses the great risk of ruining a relationship. Perhaps you’ll reach an impasse at some stage and realize that you two (or three) can’t continue together.
Then again, sticking with each through thick and thin can build a strong professional and personal relationship, which means that there’ll always be someone to support you during business hurdles.
Is one of the partners less or more committed?
This can be a problem. If one of the partners is less dedicated to / enthusiastic about the business—or has less time to devote because of another job or even personal issues—then resentment will inevitably arise and a rift will be created.
However, if both of you are working on the side to support the co-owned venture, then having a partner would be a bonus because you could share the responsibilities and time requirements.
Can you do it all? Are there skills you lack?
One of the greatest benefits of having a business partner is that there’s someone who can do the things you can’t. Are you great at developing the product yet don’t know how to sell it to users? Are you good at managing a team but can’t wrap your head around company finances? This is where someone else with a different skill set can step in.
Of course, these benefits wouldn’t apply if your partner was exactly the same as you. That’s why it’s best to find someone who’s got experience and/or skills that you don’t. That way, you both can bring something to the table.
Do you need a partner or do you need some help?
Don’t be so eager to give away ownership. You can always hire someone you trust to take over some of your responsibilities. If you can’t afford to do that or simply want to reward someone for contributing to your business, Tim Berry offers some sound advice:
“…if you can’t afford to pay her now, write up a bonus or a percent of sales that you’ll give later if you make the sales. Everybody wins. And you own your whole company. You don’t give away a piece of it in gratitude for somebody who won’t be a permanent part of it… ownership should be reserved for people who are going to actively contribute either money or long-term help.”
Are you okay with sharing the rewards?
If you don’t have a partner and your business becomes a success, then you alone reap all the benefits including profits. Yet at the same time, the volatile nature of the business world means that having a partner could reduce any financial risks, problems and other stress that you’ll come across.
So after reading the above, do you still think you need a business partner? If you do start a partnership, remember that ultimately, the keys to a successful working relationship are trust, honesty and collaboration.