I always assumed starting up businesses, projects and companies were better done alone – sole proprietorship; truth be told, I was wrong. I always wanted to venture into business opportunities for obvious reasons which include the almighty flaw – Greed.
My first attempts at starting up companies 6 years ago were huge failures, accompanied with partnerships that were unfavorable, sour and not necessarily subject to a legal bind. So when it was time to dissolve the businesses and liquidate assets, we ran into further problems and eventually parted ways in contempt.
Those experiences made me believe partnerships were indeed a waste of time, resources and business ideas. I dreaded discussing business ideas with people I could have easily incorporated businesses with. I subjected myself to the belief system of ignoring business opportunities if I couldn’t handle them alone until I met one of my current business partners.
According to the US Small Business Administration, “A partnership is a single business where two or more people share ownership. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, including money, property, labor or skill. In return, each partner shares in the profits and losses of the business.”
I start operating a public relations agency in 2013 and I had a great friend who happened to be in the same field with a lot of experience and knowledge. At first, I was curving my business affairs and would only ask questions on subjects I needed to be clear on, but eventually I realized I wasn’t going to survive on that Island alone.
In a few months, we started managing the affairs of the business together and things got way better than it was while I was managing it alone; we also started managing his company together and to be very honest with you, managing his company as well as managing mine helped both companies perform better than it did when we managed our companies individually. Up until today, we are not necessarily legally binding partners but we have managed both companies successfully for over 3 years now.
Here’s another success story!
Sometime this year, I started a Digital Marketing agency as a franchise of an already existing business I solely owned. I got a good friend of mine to volunteer her time and resources to help the agency through its start-up stage. A few months into operations we both realized we were better off as a partners, shareholders and equal decision makers; we were both sure we were ready to pull our socks up to build something valuable and remarkably powerful.
We rebranded the business – changed its identity, core values and mission; we became equal partners, the dream got bigger, visions expanded on a daily, we got clients coming in from different angles, we attend Business and Tech conferences together. What I lack, she has in excess and vice versa. We proceeded to incorporate the business into a limited liability company (LLC) after some months and today, that partnership is the probably the best decision I made this year yet.
In these few months, our agency has been recognized and awarded a star agency by Google Nigeria, we get tons of clients who never stop renewing contracts with us because of our impeccable services and procedures; and we are just beginning. We have over 4 other business ideas we plan on executing and expanding into companies in the near future, and I know I wouldn’t dare to dream so big if I had to handle most of these things myself or even with employees.
Partnerships can be scary; you may make mistakes choosing your business partners; but it is not something to shy away from. Your partner might become the breakthrough that business, company or idea needs. You might be the Tech partner and your partner, the business development partner; you may have the ability to handle things alone, but synergy makes things even greater.
Synergy is the energy or force created by the working together of various parts or processes; Synergy in business is the benefit derived from combining two or more elements (or businesses) so that the performance of the combination is higher than that of the sum of the individual elements.
Here are 5 great tips that has helped me build rock solid business partnerships recently:
- Your business partners must be trustworthy. Never form partnerships with individuals you doubt in any way.
- Avoid opportunists who think providing money is all there is to partnerships. You need someone who is willing and capable of doing more than “a bank transfer” to you. You need a person with other resources, skills, intelligence, plans and visions.
- Learn to divulge relevant and irrelevant information to your business partners at all times, regardless of its nature.
- Confrontation is important; not intended to breed contempt, but to have better understanding and clarification of your partners’ actions, decisions and reactions.
- When you come up with great business ideas, share them with your partners. You need a kindred spirit to sincerely and thoroughly encourage you, do reality checks and counter your ideas for loopholes and “what ifs” and “can’t bes”.
Take that plunge today; start something powerful, start something worth the while, start something that can stand the test of time when you can’t hold on any longer. Start something with a person you can trust and depend on; a person, who not only dedicates their time and human resources, but also, their skills, connects, ideas and experience.
Written by: Joyce Imiegha (Co-founder, René Digital Hub)
Image credit: AdvantageCS