On Finding a Business Partner

To find a business partner, or go it alone. This is a rather monumental question to answer when looking to start a business. There are benefits to each, and certainly drawbacks of each as well. Over the years, with multiple startups, I’ve done both paths. I’ve seen the struggles of going it alone, and I’ve seen the struggles of how a business partner relationship can go the wrong way.

To go alone, is a difficult path. Everything is up to you. If work is done, or not done, it’s your fault. This can be difficult and include a very stressing amount of pressure. If you are self-driven, this can be a very good path to take. Even though it’s all your fault, it’s also all up to you. You decide what to do, or not to do, for yourself. You don’t have to worry about making anyone else happy; except perhaps your significant other. If the business is small enough, plus you have the time and money to put in, this is a great option.

Going in with a business partner has it’s own set of difficulties and bonuses. With a partner, you don’t have to worry about doing everything yourself, nor do you need to invest 100% of the capital to make things happen. However, you need to figure out an ownership percentage for each of you so that one person is a tie breaker on making decisions. If you have multiple business partners, this task is easy to achieve. On the downside, you need to choose a business partner that is driven as you, and is willing to put in everything in equal value to what you’re putting in; at least in relation to your ownership percentages. You want to make sure you don’t have a business partner that enjoys telling people they own a business more than actually doing the work to make a business function.

It’s very common to choose a business partner or even multiple partners. The important things to make sure you do find a business partner that is “in it” as much as you are, and to write up operating agreements before you start so disagreement resolution is decided on before there are disagreements. Also, an important things I’ve seen is it’s important to find the business partner before the business idea comes up. You may both be interested in the business idea, but how do you know you will work together well? You should find someone you can be friends with, can work well with, and resolve problems with in a productive and peaceful manner.

Which ever path you choose (along or with partner) be sure to take time in the decision. If you do choose one or more business partners, be sure to identify people that you know you will be able to get along with and work well with for many years to come. After all, this may be the last job you ever work for the rest of your life, and your business partner(s) can be much like a significant other. You may be working together for a very long time.

Good luck, and wish you the best in your future business! You can do it!