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To partner, or not to partner

Every struggling entrepreneur wishes (at least sometimes) they had a partner to help shoulder the load. Every partnered-up entrepreneur wonders what things would be like if they hadn't taken on a partner. Is there a winning solution?

Not really.

So much of this decision comes down to you. Can you afford splitting your probably limited revenue in the beginning? Is it worth it? Do you have the skills this would-be partner has or do they complement your abilities in some way. Having a partner for the sake of having one is nice because it's less lonely, but it can also be one of the hardest parts if the dynamic is off. Too many chefs (opinions), too little margin for error.

Sometimes it seems like it would just be easier to throw darts in the dark by yourself, especially if the effort isn't balanced, they are unable to fulfill your expectations, or the personalities are so different (which can sometimes be an asset if the work is aligned to individual strengths) and not managed (communicated respectfully) early on.

The positive partner stories I've worked with include not just complementary skills and agreed upon work loads, but scenarios where there is so much healthy respect for the other person (from being raised next door from each other to having served in the military together, to having such great communication from the moment they met 5 years before). Note that in each of these, there's typically history involved. While it's not impossible, partnering up with someone you don't really know doesn't seem to be as successful. It's like dating. Time will reveal all and the more you know about the person, the more you can think through the details of what scenarios should be talked through before anyone agrees (in writing!!) to the scope of the partnership.

I never like being a fear-monger, but if you want to prepare yourself for what could possibly go wrong in partnerships, check out this perspective.

If you've found the right person, you just need to know what to consciously think through, jump on a call with me and we can talk through some initial components to the partnership agreement. At the end of the day, a lawyer should be involved with any agreement that will affect you personally, so plan to budget for sharing that expense as well.

Have a business partnership success story? We want to hear about it! Leave a message in the comments.

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