Do I need a partner for my business?
Or is it best that I go solo?
These aren’t heads or tails questions. They are big business decisions that require that you know exactly where you stand.
Going alone when you need a partner may destine your business for failure. And partnering when it’s not necessary will do you more harm than good.
Your decision depends on your situation. If you are in business because of the freedom it brings, then going solo may be the best choice. Unfortunately, you may not have the resources to run the business on your own. And you may also lack skills that are critical to the success of the business. In these situations, finding a partner may be a better option.
But like already said, this is a decision you should not make lightly. Your lack of skills or resources does not always mean you should get a partner.
In themselves, partnerships are great. And lots of great companies exist today thanks to partnerships. However, problems usually arise which lead to great hostility between the partners, handing premature deaths to businesses that would have been successful.
If you are to go into a partnership, be sure you know what you are doing.
Advantages of Partnerships
Shared responsibility—it’s no secret that running a small business is a huge responsibility. As the owner, you have many hats to wear: you have to be the accountant, the marketer, the HR manager, etc. And trying to stay on top of all these duties will leave you busier than if you had a regular day job. With a partner, however, the responsibility is shared. And you can have free time to enrich other areas of your life.
Added skills—your partner may have skills you lack. And these may be the skills to propel your business to greater heights.
Share of capital—you can borrow money from friends, family, and banks. But sometimes, these options may not be available. A partner can add the money your business needs.
Disadvantages of Partnerships
Sharing of profits—you have to share your profits with your partner. And this can be a deal breaker for some.
Disagreements—you will not agree on everything with your partner. And if you both don’t know how to handle disagreements, you will eventually go your separate ways.
Instability—in the wake of disagreements, your partner may quit, taking away his or her money. And this would disrupt business operations.
Unclear authority—if you have others working for you, they may not be sure about the lines of authority. And if you and your partner are giving contradictory instructions, confusion and chaos will result.
How to Make a Partnership Work
Choose a partner that compliments you skills
Many choose partners because of friendship. However, this is a mistake. You need to go for someone who is committed to doing business. And even then, this person must possess skills that you lack. If you suck at managing people, then get a partner who is good at it. If you are not good at marketing, then get a partner who is a marketer.
Share clear responsibilities
You and your partner must both be in charge of different sections of the business. And there must be no interference with each other’s responsibilities.
State what you would like from your partner
When getting into the partnership, agree on how much work or time you will both dedicate to the business. Ensure that you write your promises and expectations on paper.
Have a common long-term plan
You should have a common vision of where the business is supposed to go. Having a business plan is one way to achieve this. And you must ensure that you revise the plan after every year or 6 months.
Lack of this can kill the partnership faster than many imagine. Set time to talk about how the business is going. Talk about the things you like and the things you don’t. Do not hold something back thinking your partner will figure it on his or her own.
In marriage, surprises can put a smile on your spouse. In partnerships, however, they are a gamble you must avoid. If you want to get into a contract, ensure that your partner knows about it first, even if he is not in charge of that part of the business.
Respect your partner’s opinion
Avoid being the type of a partner who knows it all and only pushes his or her views forward. Your partner must have a say in the business. Doing otherwise will create resentment. And that resentment will make the business fail.
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