When you decide to start a business, you’ll have 101 different decisions to make. One of the most important ones you can make in the beginning is whether to go it alone or start a partnership. You may be wondering whether having a partner can help or hinder your business. We’ve put together some points to help you decide.
The power of teamwork
You’d have to have lived your life under a rock to avoid hearing how awesome teamwork is. We train school children in it. We list it as a positive attribute on every job application we’ve ever made. Yet that spark of a business idea can leave us abandoning it at the off.
Partnership is very much about teamwork and with it, the benefits of combined resources. In theory this should make your business more dynamic, more innovative, more stable and more resourceful.
One add one equals far more than two
Two heads together doesn’t simply double the output. This is all about synergy. The combined effect of two entrepreneurs working together is greater than those two individuals working alone.
We even see this with successful sole traders. Despite their names, very rarely did they set up completely isolated with no input from others. Why? Because few individuals would have the skills let alone the energy to make a success of a business without help and additional resources.
Checks and balances
Individual business owners have a blinding problem when it comes to passion. The passion for the idea and business can mean you’re blinded to reality and your perspective is skewed.
In a partnership there are natural checks and balances. Ideas can’t run away from you as easily if someone else has to think they are viable too. The result is that you’ll hammer out ideas together to ensure that decisions are consistently well made and realistic.
Managing the workload
You cannot escape the fact that the lot of an entrepreneur is a busy one. Frequently it will feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what you need to do, and not enough energy either.
It’s of practical importance that the capacity is there to handle the workload. A partner can help to lift a weight from your shoulders. What’s more, by using different skills you each bring something different to the table. This will enable you to collectively work harder and faster.
Sharing the risks
You may be put off the idea of a partnership because surely that means shared profits and rewards. Yes, that’s true (even though those profits and rewards should be greater). However, in a partnership you also share the risks.
This is important practically but it’s also important psychologically. Starting a new business is a risky business, spreading that risk makes real sense.
It’s important here to consider not just how you feel today. Staying motivated through the inception of a new business and having the stamina to keep that going is tough. Having an inbuilt cheer-leading squad and a motivational driver minimises the risk that going alone spells for longevity.
Think of training for a marathon or intense sporting event. Athletes recruit training partners for a good reason: combined perseverance is easier than solo!
Furthermore, a partnership is considered less risky by investors than solo affairs.
All the above is great but it comes down to one crucial factor: choosing partners carefully. Partnership based businesses bring drive, energy, combined resources and reduced risk but they also have the propensity to fail because of a failure in the partnership itself.
Make sure you’re choosing a business partner who will actually add something to the business. It may be wise to avoid simply recruiting friends or family unless they have experience. Even then, there’s the risk to personal relationships if the business starts to fail.
Do you have a business partner or are you considering one? What’s your main reason for wanting a partner? Let us know your thoughts.