To Partner or Not to Partner
I just did something huge, ya’ll. I brought on a business partner, this late in the game. I have been thinking about it for a while, even reaching out to a few potential partners, but always got gun shy when the other party showed some interest.
After weighing some pretty heavy cons, and some ultimately heavier pros, I pulled the trigger. I brought on Mike Buonomo, of famed Shark Tank and Mark Cuban glory, to the team. He’s kind of a big deal–brought 300 of his own products to market, has products in every big-box chain imaginable, coached many Shark Tank mentees on product sales, plus he has a trait that can’t be learned from Mark Cubes: he is humble and truly cares about our clients.
It seems like a no-brainer now, but I stewed about this decision. If you are considering bringing on a business partner, here are some non-negotiables to consider.
Here are the PROS to bringing on a business partner:
1. Cold, Hard Cash
Why is cash always cold and hard? I would like to rename cash as warm and fuzzy because that is how a cash infusion feels to a business in growth mode. A business partner will bring with them an infusion of warm, fuzzy cash.
2. Added Vision
If you bring on a strategic partner who has built businesses before, you will add years of different experience to your company’s vision. One of the things I am most excited about in my new partnership is Mike’s vision to grow Entrepreneur Simplified more quickly than I had anticipated. That is a breath of fresh air!
3. Skills You Don’t Have
You don’t need another you. You already have you and all of your skills. When you bring on a partner, look for skills you don’t have. I am crap at managing a sales floor. Our company has sustained double and triple-digit growth in spite of my bumbling inadequacies in this area. Imagine my DELIGHT to bring on a partner that has mastered this skill.
4. Share the Stress
When things get hairy in business (and if they haven’t been hairy yet, don’t worry–they eventually will) it is nice to not be the only one shouldering the burden. So often as a business owner, you have to put on a happy face for your clients, employees and even your spouse to keep everyone positive and moving forward. A business partner allows you the absolute luxury of breaking down, talking about things the way the really are, and having them help you come up with solutions.
Along with the pros, comes the CONS of bringing on a business partner:
1. It’s Like A Marriage
Ever heard of a marriage going wrong? Yep, a business partnership can go just as badly. You are committed to this individual, and there is inherent risk in commitment. What if they screw you over? What if they don’t pull their weight? Just like you wouldn’t marry someone who proposed to you after a week (unless you live in Utah, tee-hee), don’t partner up with someone who you have only known a week.
If you are actively looking for a partner, think about vendors, coaches, consultants, and even clients who you have worked well with in the past. My new business partner was a trainer at Entrepreneur Simplified, and has always loved this company and has been committed to our mission. Having a previous working relationship doesn’t mitigate all risk, but it certainly makes me more comfortable knowing what I can expect.
2. You Give Up A Portion of Control
Two years ago, even one year ago this would have been a major hurdle for me. I have always been a bit (a lot) of a control freak. The company has grown so much in the last few years though, that it just feels too heavy for one person to carry on my own. I am THRILLED, for perhaps the first time in my life, to be giving up a portion of the control.
3. You Give Up Equity
You give up equity. You grow a business to sell it (or take it public, but that is beyond our scope here). Every time you give away equity, your portion of the pie shrinks. As for me, I would rather have a smaller share of a bigger pie, than a whole smaller pie, but you will need to decide for yourself. For a step-by-step guide of how to systematize your business so you can sell it, check out my book on Amazon here.
And that is my list! We are sitting down with the lawyer tomorrow to hammer out logistics, and I will no longer be 100% owner (or carrier) of Entrepreneur Simplified and that feels good!