As you may have noticed in my recent #OMTI Update I’m developing my next money making scheme jointly with a friend of mine. This is the first time I’ve worked on something like this with someone else, as many people would probably attest I’m not known for being hugely sociable, but all I can say is that I wish I’d tried it sooner!
Why should I get a business partner?
Even from this (currently) brief experience working with someone on Project Penguin I’ve discovered a number of reasons which have helped me to realise that everyone serious about setting up a successful business, online or offline, should think very seriously about working with a business partner:
Discover and solve problems
Assuming you pick the right person to work with (more on that later!) brainstorming is guaranteed to show much better results when done in a pair or group instead of on your own. The much used term ‘bouncing ideas’ is a perfect way to describe how the process goes when generating idea for a business with someone else.
When working on my own I found that my ideas, although good (in my opinion at least!), would all go down the same route and I would frequently miss some broader opportunities. Talking through ideas with someone else creates great additions which neither party would have thought of without the other.
Working with someone can also help you to discover potential pitfalls with an idea that you may not have thought of. It may be the case that these can easily be solved, if not you will have avoided a potential expensive error!
Finding a problem with an idea, process or bit of functionality shouldn’t necessarily be considered a bad thing either. Over the last couple of months we’ve come across numerous issues with Project Penguin which have all been solved successfully with functionality that adds significantly to the site. Without discovering the issues we would never have had cause to think of solutions and would probably never have gained this functionality.
Working with someone else means that you have access to a larger pool of skills shared between the two of you. The business partner I’m working with already has a lot of experience setting up successful businesses, something I haven’t had yet. I can therefore learn from him and we can use his skills for our project.
On my end I am well acquainted with the technical side of things, something that is particularly important when setting up an online business focussing on bespoke websites. This is not the case with him as he previously worked in construction.
Combining the two of use creates a team which is much more likely to see success than either of us could hope for on our own due to the combination of these skills, not a coincidence on our part.
No matter how excited about a project you are we all go through periods where we’re struggling for motivation. If you’re working with someone else you’re not going to want to let them down, helping you through these periods. Add to this the fact that the person you’re working with is unlikely to also be struggling for motivation at the same time and will therefore psyche you up and you’ll be amazed by how much more you get done compared to when you work on something on your own.
Finding the right business partner
The biggest problem you’ll come across is finding the right person to work with. The world is a veritable minefield when looking for a business partner, from people who aren’t going to pull their weight to those who are just plain useless, there are plenty of people out with which would be unsuitable to work with.
So how do you find the right person? It’s not really an exact science but I do have some bits of advice which I hope will at least improve your chances of finding someone good:
Know them well
Get on with each other
When you first meet someone you may not be talking to the person they actually are due to a façade which they put up when meeting new people. Make sure you’ve known a potential business partner for a decent period of time to ensure you know what really makes them tick.
On paper someone may look like the perfect candidate to set a business up with but if you don’t really get on with them I advise you steer clear. You’re going to spend a lot of your time with this person and will inevitably have disputes about the best way to go. I’m not saying you have to be best friends, but making sure you have things in common and like each other company is an attribute I feel you should look for in any business partner.
One of the big points I highlighted when talking about the advantages of having a business partner is the access you get to additional skills. As tempting as it is to look for someone similar to yourself I think aiming for someone vastly different, at least in business world, is the better option in order to expand your combined skill set as much as possible.
So that’s my advice on business partners, you shouldn’t try to do it all on your own. What do you think? Are you a lone wolf and think working on your own isn’t a problem, or have you also experienced how much having a business partner can help you? Let me know in the comments section below.