Like life, business is easier (and more fun) when you are doing it with someone else. Successful businesses are a team effort, not a lone ranger mission. If you haven’t done so already, go and find a business partner. Here’s why:
A Business Partner Will Make You Take Action
Having two of you will force you both to take action and provide accountability for getting things done. Personally, I have had an idea I had been sitting on for at least a year. I knew I should take action on it and had a gut feel that it would be commercially viable but didn’t do a lot until I teamed up with a business partner in the last month. We have created a lot more momentum together in one month than I had created by myself in the previous year.
Fill Your Skills Gap And Be Good At Everything
If you are like 90% of ideas people, you have plenty of ideas but need to be forced to take action. If you are great at execution, a doer, you may be itching to do something but not have a focused idea to work on. Find a business partner who has complementary skills to yours and you fill in the skills gap that each of you has alone. There are lots of examples of these sorts of successful partnerships. Paul Allen & Bill Gates at Microsoft and Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak at Apple are two of the most well-known ones.
A Business Partner Will Create Synergy
Two brains are better than one. You will have better ideas, create better products and execute better with two of you working on the business. You will create a bigger pie than is possible by yourself.
Expand Your Networks
Putting your networks together will give you far more reach and contacts than you can access alone.
It’s More Fun
It’s more enjoyable and rewarding working with others. And we need to make it as enjoyable as we can to boost our persistence in the startup game.
Related Article: Dear Indian VCs: Your Groupthink Act Is Killing Innovation
But, I don’t want to find a business partner, I hear you say…
Two of the most common objections to having a business partner are:
- What if we don’t get on and it all ends in tears?
- I don’t want to give any equity away.
If you really don’t want to take on a partner, then you shouldn’t. But realise that it will limit the growth your business can achieve. If you are open to thinking about it, I would like to offer a few pointers:
Make sure you can work together before you formalise your business relationship. When you first have an idea is not the time to offer 50% of the company to someone else.
This is the approach I’m taking: Start working together to evaluate the idea but don’t create a legal shareholder’s agreement or other structure until you know you have value in the business and are clear on what each person is bringing to the table. Then make sure to create an agreement which is fair to all parties and which covers all eventualities we can think of. Do this in a culture of respect and trust and also with your eyes open.
If you can’t trust the person you are working with to go through this process with you, then you are working with the wrong partner.
As to giving up equity, it’s better to have partial share of a real business that is growing and delivering value to customers than 100% of an idea – which is where your business may stay without someone to help you.
There are lots of horror stories about what can happen when people have the wrong business partner. However, all startups that have made it big, have a team – you can’t get funding without one and you can’t grow beyond a certain size as a solo effort. So have a think about whether you need to find a business partner to move your idea forward.
- What are you lacking to move your business forward? Skills, Ideas? Contacts?
- Would having a partner fill some of those gaps? What skills and qualities would they need to have to be complementary to you?
- Who do you know who might be your perfect match in business?
- What would your strategy be for getting her or him on board? How will you do your due diligence to make sure it is a positive relationship for both of you?
About The Author
Susan Jones is the founder of ReadySetStartup.com, helping aspiring entrepreneurs develop both the strategy and psychology to create winning businesses. She lectures in Entrepreneurship at Swinburne University and is passionate about empowering women entrepreneurs. You can grab a copy of her free Startup Blueprint: 5 Steps to Launching your 6 figure business.