One of the best decisions I've made in my entrepreneurial journey is having a business partner. We've laughed and we've argued. We've been charged with excitement and been on top of the world, and we've also had our fair share of set-backs and disappointments. The consistent thing over the past 3 years is our appreciation for the fact that we've gone through all these things together. When one has been discouraged, the other has dragged them from the doldrums and kept the vision and motivation alive. As business expert Mike Southon mentioned at a talk he gave at our London office space, one of the most important things an entrepreneur can do is find a foil.
Here are my top 5 reasons why:
1. Everybody needs a sounding board
In this case, your partner not only listens to your ideas but also challenges them and tells you outright when they're bad ones. They don't coddle you like a good buddy might – there's no room for 'saving your feelings'. Your partner is your critical friend.
2. Complementary attributes
Andrew and I have different education and employment backgrounds and experiences; different ways of doing things and; different personalities. This means that we always have at least two different ways to approach a situation and can play off each others strengths.
3. Having a buffer/filter
A business partner is somebody you can vent to and somebody who can help you calm down and put things in perspective, before you do anything rash. Your partner is your voice of reason who you can be 100% sure has your back.
4. You spread the risk and responsibility
Financial, legal and beyond. It's good to know that there's someone else who is as committed to the success of the business as you are. It means that you can let go of any control freak tendencies you might have (guilty!); share responsibilities, focusing on what you do best and; relax with the confidence that your business partner is going to handle things and handle them well.
5. You can achieve more together*
Anything one can do, two can often do better/faster/more rigourously/with more fun involved!
I'm so grateful to have Andrew Mugoya as my business partner but I'm not naive to the fact that sometimes business partnerships aren't so successful. It's crucial to choose your partner well, probably with as much diligence as you would a life partner. This is somebody who you're going to spend a lot of time with and who, like your spouse and your family, will probably see all sides of you, in full technicolour glory! This person is going to get into your head and there will be arguments and misunderstandings.
But at the end of the day, if you: have shared ambitions; have a mutual respect for each other and each other's skills/talent/expertise/experience; remember to always communicate honestly and; enjoy each others company enough – you are in for a wonderful (and bountiful) ride!
Do you have a business partner? What's the best part about your relationship?
Had a partner and things went wrong – what did you learn from the experience?
Considering a partner but something is holding you back – what are your concerns?
I'd love to hear from you!
*I've borrowed this great phrase from the title of my friend Gina's training, "Achieve More Together". It's for busy career professionals who want to cultivate a fantastic career which is balanced with a fun, fulfilling and fabulous relationship and family life. Check it out!
- Interview with Developer, Author and Entrepreneur, Andrew Mugoya
- Why I Choose to Be an Entrepreneur
- The Best of Both Worlds – reflections upon the launch of Asilia's new site, earlier this year
- An Interview with Andrew – part of the Asilia series where different team members interview each other. Here, web and app developer Evans gets inside Andrew's head.
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