Starting a business with a partner is a big commitment. In my opinion, it is so easy to be a solopreneur with social media and access to talented freelancers. You should have a clear reason why you need a business partner. As a solopreneur you can use a website like Elance.com to hire freelancers to fill in where you may be lacking strength and provide help when needed. Being a solopreneur is easy for tax purposes, you have full control over the business, and your schedule can be quite flexible which is great if you need to keep a 9-5 to pay the bills while you work 5-9 on growing your business. After giving it some thought you may still decide that you want a partner to bring added skills to the business and share responsibilities and start-up costs.
If you do decide to work with a partner, consider the following:
- Will your partner be as enthusiastic and passionate about the business as you are? You want someone who will pull their weight and be passionate about making the business work. Having passion gets you through the tough days.
- Are your strengths in the same areas or do your strengths complement each others? Having a complimentary skill set and strengths are essential for efficiently sharing responsibilities and dividing up tasks.
- Are you on the same page and working towards the same goals? If you are not, it means you are not communicating effectively. Communication is key between partners.
- Have you agreed upon and signed a Partnership Agreement? I do not care if you are going into business with your best friend or a close family member (which, by the way, I don’t recommend) you absolutely need to have a signed Partnership Agreement. Small Business Notes, a website for small business owners, has a Sample Partnership Agreement here.
I have had good and bad experiences with business partners. I have tried going into business with family members and close friends and it presented too many challenges and strained our personal relationships. That is not to say it can not work for you to have a business with someone you have a close personal relationship with but you should be really careful. I do not think it is worth risking a relationship with someone you care about. For me it definitely is not worth the risk so I likely would not do it again.
With any partnership the most important thing is to not enter into a partnership too quickly. From talking to other entrepreneurs I have heard far more stories of failed partnerships than successful ones and a lot of the time people say they did not think it all the way through. Ask yourself why you really want, and need, a business partner.
Are you happy as a solopreneur? Do you have a partnership story to share? What is your opinion on being a solopreneur versus having a partner?