Thursday, May 28, 2009

Going it Alone or Not

Photo by Kevin Zim

Business Partner or just help along the way?

I have a lot of business friends who believe that business partners are the worst idea ever. It's kinda like those who have "lost in love". The business Lonely Hearts Club, so to speak. There are always going to be points when we need a community, a friend, or certainly a Mentor to help us with our business. Making a legal commitment to having a business partner is very much like being married. What are some of the reasons you might think about having a business partner?
  • You and another person came up with a business idea together.
  • You consistently need another set of skills.
  • You can only work half time and you need someone else to Captain the ship with other half.
  • You've met someone with great connections and they want "in" on your gig.
Just because these are reasons you are considering a business partner they are not necessarily the reasons why you SHOULD have a business partner. Some other options are:
  • Allow the person who came up with this idea with you to have a "silent" stake in the business.
  • Build up that skill set that you're lacking within yourself.
  • Find someone with that skill set and hire them as a consultant until you learn the ropes.
  • Take that person who you are considering as a partner and make them an employee so that you are the one taking the risks and they have a share in reaping the rewards.
  • Find a way to "promote" this person with the great connections in a way that would benefit them or allow them to invest now to earn future income rewards.
I'm not going to talk you in or out of having a business partner. I would suggest getting an opinion though from a Small Biz consultant though because it creates a specific kind of business model that your plan needs to reflect.

Then, there's always the business partners you're married to and I've written quite a bit about that!


  1. I have a business partner and we have the greatest relationship. I thought all business partners were like this...turns out not so much.

    I'd like to add that luck has a large part in finding a good one, and not being friends first helps.

    Our first business meeting was our first meeting.

    We're going on a year now and I couldn't be happier.

  2. Before my step-father passed away last month, he was business partners with another man for over 25 years. When he passed suddenly, there was a thought of, "OK, what now?" because my mother was entitled to half of whatever the business was worth, or so she thought. There was nothing stipulated saying what to do with the business if something were to happen to one of the partners. The other partner didn't have to buy her out, as would normally happen. The business was dismantled and now my mother is holding half of nothing. Had there been a contract in place to say she was to be given half, she'd be a lot better off now. SO! Get a lawyer. Draw up a contract. And make stipulations for whatever could happen.


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