Are You A “Partner Person”?

A vital decision to make when taking your entrepreneurial leap is deciding whether you’re going to have a partner or not. 

Some entrepreneurs desire partners, and some don’t. Both work. It’s a matter of deciding which works best for you. I work with successful entrepreneurs who have one or more partners, and other successful entrepreneurs who own 100 percent of their companies and would never have a partner. You have to decide which of the following type of entrepreneur you are:

  • You might want to own 100 percent and have all the responsibility, with great, well-compensated employees around you. 
  • You might want to own a majority of the business and have minority partners who have “skin in the game” and share the responsibility and rewards with you. 
  • You might be more comfortable with an equal partnership, having a fifty-fifty partnership or having two other partners with each of you owning a third.
  • You might even want many partners because you prefer to have people “all in” with you, sharing the risk.

There are pros and cons to each scenario. 

I’m pushing you for this partnership decision up front because I’ve witnessed so many horror stories of entrepreneurs who made the wrong choice when taking their leap. Some should have had a partner, because they shouldn’t have gone it alone, and some never should have had partners because they want to be in complete control. 

As one of my clients, Darren Findling, founder of the Probate Pro, PLC, states, “I started building a business with family member partners, and that never should have happened. I was never designed or born to have partners. I was born to lead and collaborate with other leaders, but not to stand shoulder to shoulder in a partnership.”

On the other hand, I myself like having a partner, although I need to have controlling interest in the business and be the final decision maker. That’s what works best for me. Any scenario can work. Whatever you decide, don’t be swayed by what works well for other entrepreneurs. You have to figure out what works best for you.

Partnerships are hard. Of my 134 clients, 54 have been partnerships. Of those, 22 had serious issues. More than half worked through their issues, but nine parted ways.

If you do take your leap with a partner or partners, make sure you’re thinking ten years out. Also make sure you’re comfortable spending a lot of time with these people, because you’ll spend more time with your partners than anyone else in your life. A partnership is truly a business marriage, and you have to make sure you and your partner’s core values are completely aligned. 

I urge you to take some time right now and give thought to whether or not you are a “partner person.”