You have an amazing idea – a product or service that is going to provide a great solution to a specific audience. You’ve crafted a business plan, have rounded up the initial financial backing, and are ready to launch.
The challenge? This is your first startup, and you are a “newbie” in an ocean of startups that have failed. Why they fail may involve multiple factors, but, more often than not, it is because having a great idea and bringing a product to market is just a part of the success equation.
Ask yourself just a few questions for starters:
- How will I market my product or service?
- How will I maintain a website, blog, and social media channels?
- Do I have the time to research my competition and stay ahead of the game?
- What business technology will be best for my needs?
- How will I recruit and onboard staff when the time comes?
- How will I develop an annual budget and manage my finances, figure taxes, etc.?
- And what about legal issues?
Admit it. You have limitations. And how will you manage those limitations? You have three choices, actually.
- You can contract out all of these services. In fact, companies like Top Essay Writing state that a large chunk of their business is from entrepreneurs who want all of their web-based copywriting and content written. And accountants can be retained for the financial tasks, for example.
- You can employ in-house staff for each facet of your business, but this is a pricey option indeed
- You can take in a partner who has the skills and talents for startup and growth operations that you lack.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of taking on a co-founding partner.
- If you find one that has experience in startups and that balances your skills, sharing the profits will not be too distasteful.
- That partner is just as motivated as you to have a successful outcome, much more so than employees or contractors.
- You can share responsibilities and workload. This allows you to have a respite from the stress of launch and growth demands, with at least some of a personal/social/family life.
- You have an intimate colleague with whom to share ideas, solve problems, and deal with crises.
- The right partner can have networks and connections that you may not – connections that can “open doors” that you may not be able to open.
- Partnerships can sour if there is personal incompatibility and communication breaks down
- Unclear roles and expectations can create misunderstandings down the road
- Ending a partnership is like a divorce, and it can get nasty, involving court litigation
- Agreements can be flawed, leaving loopholes and misinterpretations on the part of each partner – tension can develop
- You are giving up a significant amount of control when you take on a partner. You need to be mentally prepared and accepting of that.
When Considering a Partnership
If you have decided that a partnership is your best course, then you have some work to do before establishing this business model.
- You have to look beyond family and friends – sometimes they do not make the best partners, because of personal relationships that are too close.
- As you look at potential partners, you will need to dig deep into their histories. Do they have an actual track record that backs up their words?
- You will need to have extensive conversations with any potential partner to ensure that your visions and interests are in alignment.
- If you are new to this world of partnerships, you will need to craft an agreement that is “bullet-proof.” Be certain to get the right legal advice as you draw up that document.
In the End, Your Comfort Level is What Counts
Sometimes, partnerships just occur in a natural and “unofficial” way. Consider Mark Zuckerberg, for example. He had an amazing idea but also college roommates who saw the potential and hopped on board. Bill Gates had the same “natural” partner in Paul Allen, and they actually had another business before Microsoft. These are the exception rather than the rule, though, and these partnerships did not ultimately last.
You have to determine your comfort level with taking on a partner. Can you share the power, the decision-making, and the profits without regret or resentment? If you are uncomfortable with any of these things, then a partnership is not for you. If, however, you are a person who sees value in sharing these things in order to have a better chance for success, then go for it.
About the Author: Nicole D. Garrison is a content strategist, writer, and contributor to a number of platforms for marketing specialists. She is also a frequent content and blog writer for Classy Essay, a well-known writing agency. She also has her own blog, Live Inspired Magazine. In her free time, Nicole is a passionate runner and curious beekeeper.