If you’re just starting out in your business, you’ve probably asked yourself: “Should I go it alone, or would I be more successful with a business partner?”
It’s a tough question to answer, as a lot of it depends on your personality, the particular needs that a business partner could fill, and if you have enough money to pay someone during those early days. Plus, having a business partner doesn’t _ guarantee _ success; in some cases, it may even be a recipe for failure if you haven’t chosen your partner wisely.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five attributes you may want in a business partner, as well as a few key reasons you should be running your business solo.
You need a specific skill or talent.
The most successful business partnerships are those in which each person brings complementary skills and talents to the table. For example, if you consider yourself a great salesperson but don’t have the patience for financial details, a good business partner would be someone who lives and breathes those dollar signs.
You don’t have access to a client base, but they do.
If you’re just starting out in your business and aren’t inheriting clientele from a previous job, it might be worthwhile to find a business partner who already has a substantial customer base. This partnership can help you get off the ground faster, which can be key for running a successful business.
You get along together.
This might be an obvious one, but a potential business partner needs to be someone you don’t mind being with 24/7. Starting a small business can be incredibly stressful, time-consuming, and highly emotional. If you don’t like your business partner or get into arguments over important issues, the partnership probably won’t last through the tougher parts of running a business.
You don’t need to be best friends, but you do need to respect and support each other!
The business makes enough to pay both salaries.
Money can quickly turn even the best business relationship sour — and if the business doesn’t make enough money to support both salaries, you might want to consider going solo instead. If, however, the business makes enough money or you both have a clear understanding of when you’ll start paying salaries, the partnership could still work.
You don’t mind sharing the glory.
Ever hear of the adage “playing nice in the sandbox”? If you tend to get along well with others and don’t mind sharing the credit, a business partner could be a good fit for you. But there’s no shame in admitting if you don’t want to share the credit or you want the recognition that comes with running your own business — just be sure to not bring a partner on board!
You work better alone.
It’s perfectly OK to admit that you do better work by yourself. If you thrive doing work by yourself as opposed to in a group, it’s probably a huge clue that you won’t be as successful running your business with a partner.
You don’t see a great need for a partner.
If there’s no blindingly obvious reason for a business partner, don’t stress out trying to find one. Unless you absolutely need to supplement a skill or could use the help, you’ll probably be fine running your business solo.
You only need short-term help.
Are you in need of a particular skill, but only until your business gets up and running? Or do you need someone who can help with marketing materials? If your specific need is short-lived or could be supplemented by an employee or contractor, it’s a better idea to opt for one of those choices rather than work with a business partner.
You’re only doing it for the money.
Let’s say someone is offering to give your business some start-up money, but only if you include them as a business partner. It might be tempting to jump at the chance — especially if your business needs cash — but there are other ways to get the start-up funds you need. The bottom line here is that you don’t want to relinquish 50% of your business ownership just to get access to short-term cash; you may wind up regretting it months or even years from now.
Do you have a business partner? What advice would you give to folks wondering if they need a business partner? Tell us in the comments below!
I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
Mariah writes on a number of topics such as small business planning, contractor insurance, and business licenses.
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated insurance carrier by AM Best. Harborway Insurance is a brand name of Harborway Insurance Agency, LLC, a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California license #6004217.