Perhaps you have been thinking of starting your own business venture for some time now and that you’d like to fulfil your dream and “be your own boss”. However, it may have also crossed your mind that this endeavour may entail the help of a friend or a family member. Among the myriad of thoughts and many decisions you’re considering, you are also thinking “should I take on a business partner at all?”
Here are several more points to ponder on which may help you in considering whether having a partner is an asset or a liability to your business venture.
A partner in responsibilities.
Having a partner means having someone to share tasks and duties with. At the onset, you and your partner should agree on which part of the business is handled by whom. “I bring in the clients, you take care of the projects.” Or “I handle the creative side, you oversee the financials.” Agreeing on each person’s role and responsibility from the beginning makes it easier for either person to focus on the task at hand. Delegating roles makes the daunting task of setting up the business not as overwhelming as if you were doing it alone.
A partner in expenses.
The cost of a new business venture – startup capital, operating and maintenance expenses – may be too heavy on the pocket for one person. Having a partner means double the funding and double the budget. Having someone to split expenses with is an advantage to you.
A partner in skills and know-how.
When you partner with someone, know what you can bring to the table as a strength or skill. Assuming that you choose a partner who can make up for your lack of experience and know-how in some aspects of the business, this can be a symbiotic and complimentary set-up. You step up when it’s your expertise that is needed, and your partner does so too in areas where he is strong and experienced.
A partner in decision making.
Since responsibility is shared, decision making is also a shared process. Evaluations may be easier when made with someone who has the same interests in mind. Thoroughly discussing things before arriving at a decision is better than making a hurried one on your own. Having someone to confer, or even argue with is a definite advantage. Accountabilities on decisions made is also shared equally among the partners.
A partner in problem solving.
Two heads are better than one. Aside from having a sounding board, your partner can give you fresh perspectives or new insights on issues that need to be resolved. Solving problems and addressing issues with someone who shares the same goals with you makes the burden lighter and the rough patches easier to handle.
Of course, with all business partners, profits and rewards are shared. Even if you personally feel that the time, effort and skills of your partner is not commensurate with the profit that he takes in, you are bound by the agreed percentages of sharing when you started out.
As you go along, you may find that your partner may have different priorities than you. This may cause ill feelings on your part especially if you think that your partner is wasting time, not focusing on agreed goals and objectives. Your partner may have his own reasons for doing so, perhaps, he sees a different “route” to get to where you both want to be. Where does this leave you? What do you do? Do you call his attention or let him be?
In the same manner that a partner can give fresh insights or new ideas, your partner could be someone of opposing views. When you feel strongly about something and your partner does not agree, this can slow down business decisions or cause delay in operational matters. Constant disagreements may lead to tension in the partnership and possibly result to bigger conflict.
Well into the way of your business partnership, differences in end goals and objectives may surface. Either your partner shifted directions along the way, or was not clear with his goals to begin with. Perhaps you want to do things faster, with a “let’s go!” attitude, while your partner is content with a regular paced business with minimal efforts. When you and your partner are not in sync, the wheels will not turn towards the same direction.
With business partners in the picture, sole decisions happen rarely. Even when you already want to decide on a matter, or even if you strongly believe that your way is the best way, having partners mean coming into agreement with the others. You cannot just call the shots, or call them on your own.
As a result of having to constantly confer with other people, or take into consideration the opposing opinions, the decision making process may be slower than when it’s just you. Because with partners you have to wait for a consensus to be fair to everyone involved. This may eventually result to lost opportunities for your business, due to the delays.
Ultimately, some partnerships is a breeding ground for ill feelings and resentments. Issues arise from differing styles or ways of working. These ill-feelings could be addressed early on so as not to snowball into bigger, more serious conflicts that may be more difficult to resolve in the future.
So is having a partner an asset or a liability? You can look at it both ways. There are people who adamantly refuse to enter into business partnerships with friends, no matter how good an idea it may seem to be in the beginning as it may “start of the end of the friendship.”
Therefore weigh things carefully before entering into a partnership. Are you really a partnering kind of person, or are you more effective working alone? Will a partnership truly be complimentary, or does it make more sense contracting out services you can’t do for yourself?
Ultimately, if you do decide to enter into a partnership, make sure that it is with people whom you fully trust, people who clearly share the same goals with you, and people whom you believe will be a true partner in all challenges and success of your business venture.