Should You Go it Alone or Find a Business Partner?

Business Partner

There are pros and cons to working with a business partner. If you find the right partner, they can bring in more business, and possibly skills that you don’t possess yourself. But, it can be difficult to find a partner that you can work with over the long-term as businesses grow and change naturally over time.

This is when your personality and that of your partner can become more important than ever, along with what your vision is for the business. If you and your partner don’t have the same vision, it can cause some serious tension.

So, should you go it along, or find a business partner? Before you decide, here are some of the pros and cons of working with a business partner.

Pros of Having a Business Partner

Partners Provide Feedback and Someone to Work Alongside You

This is probably the most beneficial part of having a partner, they are there to help work side-by-side with you and to provide feedback. Being able to bounce ideas, strategies, and new opportunities with another person can shoot your business into new territory and help it stand out from the competition.

Financial Backing

A big plus to having a partner is that they usually bring another cash source into the company to help it grow. Most ventures have partners at either equal shares or varying shares, depending when you bought into the company. Some will also decide to make employees partners later down the road. You can also have a silent partner who puts in the money but doesn’t want to be involved in the day-to-day operations. Having a partner bring in capital can help reduce the financial risks of a new company.

A Different Skill Set

It’s important to find a partner that makes up in skills what you lack, or is bringing in a new skill set that will help the business grow. This is when partnerships tend to work very well, if both partners can bring different skills to the table to benefit the business.

Cons of Having a Business Partner

You Can’t Make All The Decisions

If you have a partner, you can’t just up and decide to add new services or products to your business. You have to run it by your partner, and depending on the number of partners, get their voice and vote on the new venture. This can be time consuming, especially if you have to talk them into your idea. This can be beneficial as partners can veto an unwise choice or open your eyes to problems that may arise if you do move forward with a business decision.

Potential Conflicts or Disagreements

Say you and your partner have a falling out. How do you handle this? Whenever people work together, there is always room for strife and arguments. You might have to swallow your pride and cool down before resuming talks with your partner. A written agreement and role descriptions should help lessen the amount of tension between partners.

When looking for a partner, be sure to find one who has the same goals as you, wants to work and grow the business, and is easy to get along with. If you are looking at a silent partner, you won’t be working with them as closely, but you still need to be able to agree on some business decisions. Be sure to discuss conflict resolution, defined roles and responsibilities, and where they want to take the company in the future. Partners can be a real asset to a business. But, be sure you are prepared for the level of responsibility that comes from having a partner.