We provide a matching service for people wanting to find a business partner. During the ten years that we have been doing this we’ve matched thousands of business partners and heard a lot of different reasons for entrepreneurs wanting a business partner.
I thought it would be helpful to give you some insight into why others are looking for business partners.
- Finding a partner to bring an injection of funds into the business. This is more than just an Investor, but someone who will take an active day-to-day involvement and contribute hands-on to the success of the company. They will likely bring many of the other benefits of a business partner as shown below as well.
- To add skills or expertise that the business needs. These complement the existing owner’s expertise. We regularly have businesses where the owner is technically proficient, understands their product or service well and knows the market, but is not getting the sales for example that they should. Bringing on a sales/marketing expert as a business partner can drive the business forward.
Now days we also see quite a few entrepreneurs with good on-line ideas looking for the technical skills to make the idea reality. Given there are lots of places a skilled internet person could invest their time, I would advise anyone with such good ideas to do as much as they can in developing them and showing they are likely to work to attract a skilled partner.
- Bring market knowledge into the company. Especially for a younger entrepreneur, or one where the product or service spans new market areas, a business partner that has good previous experience of the market can help with targeting product development and identify marketing messages to the right key market segment. The experience brought also provides authority and credibility to the business.
- Having contacts that will help the business grow. The contacts could be a source of customers, a source of experts, or even investment. They would know the right people to get to in any organisation and when you are ready to hire, the best people to take on board.
- To share the workload. In a small business there are always a 101 things to do. You need someone who can take on the many tasks of running the businesses that has as much commitment to the business as you do, more than just an employee. You could just hire some help, but taking on a partner will get more focus and initially at least be less expensive.
- To share the risk. They put their time and efforts into the businesses and gain the reward, but also the potential for loss. It can be worrying if you alone are bearing all the risks of running a company. Having a business partner who is prepared to shoulder some of the risk can be a relief.
- To act as a sounding board, be someone to bounce ideas off and contribute to decision making. No one person can have all the ideas and strategies needed for running a business. Having a business partner to talk through the options and help decide on the right actions can be invaluable.
- To provide companionship and alleviate the loneliness of running a business by yourself. This is not a trivial reason. Being the boss, or even the only employee of your own business can be a very isolating existence. Yes you meet customers and suppliers, but having a fellow business partner to run the business with can be more enjoyable and reduce a lot of stress.
Partnership agreements. When you take on a business partner, you will need to agree upfront the responsibilities of each of you and consider as much as you can of how you will work together. It will ensure that the partnership has a much better chance of success and protects you both.
I’ve written about partnership agreements before, so do have a look at that important advice.