The question of whether to go it alone or with a partner may well be a topic that surfaces at various stages of the business start-up process.
As the formulation of the initial idea begins the entrepreneur will likely consider what attributes are paramount in order for the business to succeed and which are desirable. They will then probably consider which of these necessary skills they themselves posses.
In the event that they do not have all of the essential elements onboard through their own experience and skill-set they may seek to engage a partner with the sought after skills to start the business with.
Advantages of Starting up Alone
There are advantages and benefits of starting up alone as opposed to with someone else. Some of these are described below:
Control. Taking on a partner will mean relinquishing some measure of control over the business as the other person gains a stake and begins to manage one or more aspects of the operations.
Doing the job right. In cases where the entrepreneur has a very specific vision of what they want the business to be and how they see its development, translating this to another person might be difficult.
Two people may well have differing standards of work and this could become a source of conflict where the work carried out by the partner is deemed to be less than what was expected.
Accountability. When choosing to start a business with a partner the rules on accountability will work both ways and the entrepreneur may find that new pressures are now being placed upon them.
Certain aspects of the business, such as search engine optimisation and the resultant sales may take time to cultivate and yet cause exasperation in the impatient partner.
Stepping on each other’s toes. Without clearly defined areas of operation and responsibility, there is a danger of getting in each other’s way. It is sometimes the case in a business start-up that every minute decision is discussed and evaluated by the partners before action is taken.
Whilst some might view this as a healthy working relationship and business structure, the decision making process is often slow and overcomplicated as the expert among the parties takes valuable time explaining the concepts to the other partner who is a novice in that particular area.
Given the large quantity of decisions that have to be made when starting a business, some small, some major, discussing each and everyone often means that very little is actually accomplished.
Advantages of Starting up with a Partner
There are potential advantages of starting up with a partner instead of on your own and these are discusses as follows:
A partner for the long journey. Starting a new business can be long and often lonely journey particularly where the entrepreneur has just come from being in employment and a bustling office environment where ideas and opinions are frequently shared.
Taking on a partner can, to a certain extent negate the affects of this by providing someone to discuss and develop ideas with.
When working on the business late at night, when you are tired but determined to finish off a piece of work, it is comforting to know that someone else is also doing the same for your benefit.
Synergy. The view that one and one equal three can work where two people work to create something that neither could have achieved singularly. Where the dynamics of the relationship work the effects of synergy can transform the potential of a start-up business to something neither party could have previously envisaged.
Adding expertise to the business. Where the partner has different skills and qualities to those of the entrepreneur, the enhancement to the business can be substantial.
It has long been known that specialisation can bread efficiency and result in overall increased output.
By allowing each partner to focus on the areas where each is strong, they can effectively become experts in those sections of the business and make significant progress for the whole operation.
The decision of whether to start a business alone or with someone else must be considered in terms of the potential benefit and drawbacks that may result. The personal working styles and any non-business relationship may affect how well the two operate together.
Defining a clear busines structure and areas of responsibility is paramount in any match-up succeeding as is a list of clear expectations and frequently meeting to discuss, evaluate and discuss these.
If the partner can bring significant benefits to the operations and it is believed that these will out way the drawbacks, then starting a business with a partner can enhance both the organisation and its chances of meeting its stated objectives.