To Partner or Not to Partner When Starting a Business

We’ve all heard the saying, “misery loves company.” When starting a business, misery doesn’t just love company, it insists on it. That’s why having a partner when starting a new venture can be of great help when the going gets tough. But many entrepreneurs are “go it alone” types and feel most comfortable doing as much themselves as possible.

Although we’ve seen entrepreneurs succeed without a partner, we still believe that “business is a team sport.” Of course it ultimately depends on your personality and circumstances, so here are some things to consider when making that choice.

Advantages to Partnering

•     Shared finances: Entrepreneurs don’t always start a business solely for the money, but it’s definitely an important aspect of any startup, especially if you don’t have much of it. By partnering you can combine funds, split expenses, or rely on your partner’s access to resources while you provide more time or expertise. Having someone with whom to share financial responsibilities is especially helpful if neither of you is taking a salary for a while.

•     Complementary skills: Diversity of skillsets is probably the most important reason to have a partner. Rare is the person who is an expert at every aspect of business – even Steve Jobs (the creative visionary) had his Woz (the technical whiz). Your partner may have the business savvy while you have the operations or technical knowledge, for example. One of the partners, we believe, should have outstanding sales skills or be able to grow into that role. Of course, you can always hire a sales expert later. But having that skillset in place from day one is very advantageous.

•     Emotional support: Entrepreneurs often underestimate how difficult it can be to have EVERYTHING on your shoulders. Having a true partner who understands what you’re dealing with can help take some of that load. Even I, as an introvert, highly value this role that a partner can play.

Advantages to Going Solo

•     It’s all about ME: Unless it’s illegal or too expensive, as a solopreneur you can do whatever you want. This type of autocratic control is why many people become entrepreneurs in the first place, and for many, it works.

•     Fewer management meetings: When you ARE management, you don’t have to coordinate with anyone else (unless you like talking to yourself, like I do). Less coordination means less meetings, which means less “split-brain.”

•     More rewards: Well, obviously. But remember that 100% of zero is still zero. Instead of focusing on having 100%, perhaps focus on making what you do have, more valuable.

Perhaps you are concerned that you won’t find a compatible partner. But in my opinion business, like many things in life, is an experience better shared. If you’re looking for business accountability partners in NYC, reach out to join our community of entrepreneurs.