As you consider starting your own business, the question about whether to have a partner has likely come to mind.
It is a particularly important decision and not to be taken lightly. As a business owner, I started with a partner which worked well for many years. However, there came a time when it was necessary to dissolve the partnership and for me to become the sole owner.
Here are some things to think about, and pray about, as you contemplate partnership.
First, do you really need a partner? If you feel you can do it on your own, it is likely a good idea to at least start that way. If you feel you need someone to share the load so you can balance other things in your life and/or if you feel someone else will bring things to the business you cannot, then you may want to consider partnership.
What are the pros and cons of business partnerships? What are the things you should be seriously thinking about?
Pros about Partnership
Another perspective and way of looking at things that arise in business
Sharing the burden (financial, work, planning, stress)
Sharing the fun and successes
Accountability: there is someone else to report to regarding what you are doing, how you are doing it and are you following through.
If you have a family, or planning a family, there is an invested person to be in the business if you cannot be for a time or for a specific reason.
Cons about Partnership
How likely is it my witness for Christ will be compromised in this partnership?
Another perspective may always be like yours, so you are not receiving the benefit of other ideas
Sharing the profits
Potential conflict with difference of opinion
Can you outsource what you need to do?
Can you start without a partner and then reconsider later?
Practical Next Steps:
Pray and ask God for wisdom and direction
Consider all the pros and cons
If more pros than cons:
Pray that God will bring to mind a person. If you have a person in mind: pray for guidance.
A. Write down your criteria for choosing a person. Consider things such as
Do they share the same faith?
Do they share the same values? (trustworthiness, integrity, servant heart, social conscience).
Do you like them?
Do you feel you can trust them?
Do they seem emotionally stable?
Do you have confidence they will deal with others with respect and dignity?
Is there mutual respect?
Are they financially stable?
Can they offer something to the business that you cannot, or can they do something (at that time) better?
Have you known them for long enough and/or have spent enough time with them to know their work ethic?
Do you feel you are “compatible but different” (compatible in your values but bringing different business strengths)?
Are there potentially other influencers in your business partner’s life that may cause difficulty?
B. Get advice from others who know you about this decision and who you are thinking of as a potential partner.
C. Have a meeting to see if the person is interested. If so, make a list of the different aspects of business ownership and have a serious conversation about them. i.e., division of duties (i.e., marketing, human resources, program development), hours per week to commit to the business (be extremely specific regarding what the responsibility is and for how much time), how to handle disagreements, how to dissolve the partnership if necessary, etc.). Talk to them about what their definition of success is. Come up with different scenarios and discuss how they would handle it. Ask them what they are concerned about if they enter into the partnership with you.
D. Pray! Having a partner in business has often been compared to a marriage. Therefore, this is a crucial decision that requires knowing the benefits and drawbacks and applying them. Then, make your decision. Do not be hard on yourself. You can only make the best decision you can with the information you have at the time. Make a deadline for decision making.
Next week, we are going to discuss whether Christians should only go into business with other Christians. We would love you to share your thoughts on this!
May God richly bless you this week!
Bonny, Christian Women at Work