Is A Business Partner Really Right For You?
By: Karen Pattock
Building a business is hard work, right? And if you’re anything like me you feel like you have new opportunities and concepts being thrown at you constantly, which can become overwhelming. There may be times that sharing all of that responsibility with a business partner my sound appealing… but is a business partner really right for you?
Let me start by saying that I’ve done it both ways and there is no right or wrong answer. The goal is to arrive at the conclusion that is right for you and your circumstances. Today, let’s break it down in a way that will help you find the answer that works for you and your business.
(In all fairness… I’m going to be a little bit of a devil’s advocate in this article. I’m doing it to give you LOTS to think about before you commit to a business partner.)
As I see it, there are three main categories that you need to focus on: Responsibility/Workload, Specialties & Skills and Overall Profits.
Do you feel overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities it takes to run your business? If you’re contemplating establishing an official partnership with someone else because there is so much to do you may want to think again.
I couldn’t agree more that building a business can be all-consuming. But there are other options that you may not have considered. For example, hiring a virtual assistant. There are a wide range of options and rates when it comes to virtual assistants.
If you need someone to help you with a special project check out ODesk.com. I’ve found many wonderful people to help me with research, graphics and PowerPoint presentations.
I’ve also used Fiverr.com to help with video, eBook covers & Twitter profiles. As the name implies… everything costs $5.00. (Can you say D*E*A*L?)
If any one of these people resonates with you and you want to establish a regular work schedule you can do that as well.
Specialties & Skills
Fiverr & O’Desk are also amazing resources for people with specialty skills, (as demonstrated by the various projects I’ve hired someone to help me with).
When considering bringing a partner on board because of their specialty or skill level ask yourself these three questions:
- Is their skill something that your business needs on a permanent basis?
- Is their skill going to help you generate substantially more income?
- Are your combined specialties & skills complimentary to one another making your new combined business a much better resource for your clients?
If you’re answering “yes” then a partnership may be perfect for you. On the other hand, if your answer is “no” or “I’m not sure” then you may be considering a partnership for the wrong reasons.
If you have hesitation you may want to discuss a temporary partnership with this person that revolves around a specific project. That way, you’ll get to see first hand if they have a similar and reliable work ethic as well as how they handle stress and project management.
It’s all relevant when making a commitment to someone else at this level.
While all of the categories are important, profits will most likely be the category that ultimately gets the most attention.
Splitting profits, (no matter the percentage), is great when all partners have lived up to their responsibilities and displayed peak performance, however, when that isn’t the case that line can become a little blurry.
For arguments sake let’s say you have a big launch you’re working on with your partner. You’ve discussed what each of your responsibilities will be and you’re off to the races.
Before you know it your partner is falling behind, not keeping up in a timely fashion and you find yourself constantly reminding them to get the job done. In the meantime, you’re doing all of your tasks plus regularly checking that their tasks got done. Now you’re doing twice the work. I promise it won’t be long before you’ll be thinking that you deserve more of the profit because you did more of the work.
Chances are, (and this has been my experience), that your business partner won’t have a clue as to why you feel like they deserve less than you do. Needless to say a battle will surely ensue. (I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.)
Here’s the deal… although I’ve done a great job of playing devil’s advocate today I want to make it clear that I’m by no means against having a business partner. I’ve done it successfully in some of my past businesses and thrived because of the partnership. My intention in this article is to make you see the ‘not-so-great’ side of having a business partner as well as why you should or should not consider it as an option for your business.
Getting into a partnership should never be taken lightly. It’s much easier to get INTO a partnership then to get OUT of one so be sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you want to be connected to this person for the long term.
Remember, if you’re only reason for wanting a business partner is so that you can share the day-to-day tasks of running a business with them then that’s not a good enough reason. Instead hire someone, (I’ve even hired local high school students to help me and they LOVE the opportunity). I’ve given you options as low as $5.00 today and if you’re in business you can certainly afford $5.00.
Whatever option you choose I want you to go into it with your eyes WIDE open. Your success is waiting for you and I’m behind you 100%.
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