Starting your own business is an exciting and daunting task, especially if you’re considering tackling the new venture on your own. But as you get closer and closer to truly putting your business plan into action, you may wonder if having a business partner would help take your business to new heights. Another cook in the kitchen may be frustrating, but it can also bring in objective expertise and may take some of the liability off your shoulders.
Below are a few questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether or not to take on a business partner; there are also a few resources that can further help you make a decision. Let’s take a look.
Being the sole proprietor of your business means the buck stops with you, both good and bad. No one else will be responsible for the success or failure of your endeavor except you.
Some entrepreneurs find this exhilarating, whereas others find it terrifying. If you find yourself in the latter group, then it might be time to ask yourself some important questions about getting a partner.
1. Is There Someone You Trust Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt?
Going into business with someone is a legally binding contract that can easily become a litigation nightmare if things turn sour in the future.
Before you take on a partner or even approach someone, truly analyze how much you trust this person; examine his or her previous relationships, both personal and professional, and determine whether you can truly rely on this person. Also, don’t forget about his or her ethical and moral behavior. If he or she doesn’t initially make the cut, then there’s no harm in walking away.
2. Do You Lack Certain Skills Necessary for Your Industry?
Chances are that one of the reasons you’re starting your business is because you have a particular passion or talent in that specific area. However, you might also lack that crucial piece of expertise that could make your business much more successful.
In this case, finding a partner who can complement your skill and bring his or her own knowledge to the partnership could be ideal for your new business. The goal is to find a partner that will augment your own knowledge to benefit and further the growth of your brand.
3. How Much Time Do You Really Have to Devote to the Business?
You may intend to start your business as a side project while holding down a full-time job, or there may be demands on your time that you cannot neglect regardless of the commitment your business may need from you.
In these instances, having a business partner means having another set of hands that can be there when you’re not. It also means you’ll be able to offload some of the stress of starting and running the business on your partner. If this is your main motivation, however, be sure that he or she is willing to help and is capable of doing the work needed to run and grow the business.
4. Can You Successfully Articulate Your Vision to Others?
Being an entrepreneur is an uneven, mostly unrepeatable blend of intellectual and inspirational prowess. While it isn’t always easy, you’ll need to passionately and cogently express your vision to investors, customers and employees.
If you find that prospect daunting, or haven’t had great success with motivational speaking in the past, you might want to find a partner who can help inspire your staff and accurately communicate your vision to others.
5. How Much Professional Experience Do You Have?
If you’re a young entrepreneur or even just an untested one, you may encounter resistance from a variety of people you meet who can have a direct influence on your initial success. Investors, loan officers, clients and even employees may be hesitant to take a chance on an unknown brand. In this case, finding a partner with previous business experience or a successful reputation can go a long way toward making your initial business launch much easier.
If you’ve determined that you need a partner after asking yourself these questions, there are a few different ways to go about finding one.
Finding the right person will involve another round of asking the right questions, as well as time required to vet potential candidates. It will be critically important for you to take the time to find the right fit for you and your business, which means the process of finding a partner will not be a quick one. Have patience, and remember that all of the legwork you’re doing now will pay off in the long run when your business starts to grow.