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.

5 Reasons Why Community and Partners Matter when Starting Your Business

Entrepreneurs are often “lone wolves” – for example, staying up all night in a dorm room coding; skipping out on parties to work on an idea; eating ramen for weeks in order to spend every spare dime putting together a prototype.

That kind of focused individuality is useful in helping your company stand out from the crowd and get noticed. But it can also limit your horizons, because business growth is really a team sport. And as in sports, we’re competitive.  But we’re also a lot alike, and we should be partnering with each other.

Still not convinced? Here are five non-financial reasons to join an entrepreneurial community.

•     Emotional Support. News flash:entrepreneurship is very hard. It’s ok to want to talk about your experiences with someone else. It’s even better when that person has been through some of the same experiences you have. Whether you want to discuss a particular issue or just want to vent, having someone else to talk to can be both healthy and helpful.

•     Accountability Partners. Sometimes we are able to motivate ourselves, and sometimes we have a hard time maintaining that motivation. Articulating your goals, committing to action, and having someone hold you accountable to those goals and actions can help solopreneurs keep on track.

•     Objective Opinion. When faced with a business dilemma, it can be beneficial to bounce your ideas off of someone you know will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. By helping you step outside of the issue, these straight shooters can provide a new perspective, allowing you to see your patterns and biases more clearly.

•     Expert Opinion. As entrepreneurs, we’re forced to wear many hats…but some hats don’t always fit. By being a member of a common group, you can find others to fill in the gaps in your skillset, as well as help others in areas in which are you stronger. And who knows? Maybe together, you and your new partners will come up with an even better business idea.

•     DistractionThe stress of the hustle adds up. Stepping back to relax and think about something else, if even for a few minutes, can be just the break you need to come back stronger and sharper than before. Having those peers who understand what you’re going through and can provide those distractions, however brief, can be enough to keep you fighting through another day.

The bottom line is, we can’t do it all ourselves. A community of your peers can make it easier for everyone to succeed, while making it a more pleasant experience getting there. And if you feel you don’t currently have a community,you’re in luck – we’re building a startup community to help you connect to other entrepreneurs. Reach out as we build a group that helps entrepreneurs from all walks reach their full potential. Join us!