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Veteran

Ryan Brown Melbourne, FL

Entrepreneurs- for those that have business partners, how did you all find each other? I’m preparing to launch my own company, but feel it would be a lot easier if I had someone else as a co-founder/partner to help bring different skills to the table.

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Ryan

22 May 2018 4 replies General

Answers

Advisor

Rob Pianka Lancaster, PA

Hello Ryan,

I would question whether it would in fact be "a lot easier" if you had a co-founder/partner. You do spend a lot of time collaborating>negotiating>fighting with business partners and if you are 50%-50% partners decisiveness can suffer.

Beth was on to something (Hi Beth) when she thought about the future, about bringing along a sub-ordinate to pick up an increasing burden over time. And I'm sure David (Hi David) would have gotten to the point of asking you to list the skills you are bringing to the table and the skill you need someone else to bring.

In my experience the skills you need someone else to bring are more varied than the set of skills you can expect from one business partner AND the skills you need change over time. If, as is common, you lack accounting and finance skills finding an Accountant to partner up with is likely to be overkill. A part-time CFO might be a better idea...not as a partner or an employee, but as a contracted service provider. If you've never built a business before you could hire a business coach. Etc.

So, my advice (with the info you gave us), make that list, put the skills you will need from someone else on a timeline, figure out how best to access those skills when you need them...and keep 100% of your business ownership.

On top of that, start building your network with the entrepreneurs around you. There are many "clubs" - my town is big on Christian entrepreneur clubs - where businessmen and women find in each other the skills and experience you feel/know you need to succeed.

In a sense, if business is a test of a person's abilities it is first and foremost a test of your ability to give and receive help from others on the same journey.

Well anyway, that's my opinion.

Rob

Advisor

David Akre New York, NY

Much depends on the new company’s plan and capital requirements. Do you have a business plan, presentation and proforma? What’s the business??

Advisor

Emanuel Carpenter Atlanta, GA

Ryan - Good question. The best matches for me were my friends from college. However, they did not want to leave their stable careers to risk working with a start-up (although they became financial investors). I tried CoFoundersLab (used to be called FounderDating) and spoke with a couple of people who just weren't a good match for me. Perhaps you will have better luck using this free site: https://cofounderslab.com/?from=founderdating. Just use your LinkedIn sign on to create an account.

Advisor

Beth Ward Laramie, WY

Thanks for your service Ryan. Having a business partner is a little like entering in to a marriage - most of the same relationship dynamics - which requires a lot of work, while you’re putting in a TON of work in to your new business. The right person is hard to find, and a lot of owners go it alone but build a solid team over time to help them. I also know a lot of people who relied on family members in the early years to help them get going.

Have you thought about hiring someone to share the work, bring a complimentary skill set and perspective, that needs an opportunity? This could be a young person starting out that isn’t in a position to demand a high salary, or would exchange some salary for profit sharing, etc. - someone who needs to get out and learn and is eager to prove themselves. For me, these were some of my best employees/team members. They grew with the business, which provided so much value and stability. And, we had fun figuring it all out together. The characteristics they shared were hard working, honest and open communicators (told me when I was messing it up), and we enjoyed being in each other’s company (you spend a lot of time together).

I hope you find your person Ryan; the best of luck to you!
Beth

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