Everybody wants to be an entrepreneur, do their own thing, be their own boss. Well, until it’s time to get your hands in the dirt, then we realize it’s more grime that glamor. No shame though, some of us will love it till the end. But we have to also acknowledge how terribly hard it is, especially if you are doing business in a country like Nigeria. Omo!
Anyway, business is hard. Doing business on your own can be frustrating. One of the ways people scale is by collaborating with other like-minded businesspeople with existing products, or with the desire to work together to achieve an aim. Don’t get me wrong. There are certain benefits to running your business, solo. For one, there’s monopoly over decisions and full control over the business. However, having someone else build and carry the business with you can be a big burden off your shoulders. You can share potential risks and workload. Also, if your partner is as committed as you, you could both take the business to new levels.
Of course, finding a partner that fits isn’t always the easiest feat, in fact, that’s where the koko really is. People have entered into partnerships that resulted in super story and hot tears. So, if you are at the ideation stage of your business, or currently running solo and thinking of bringing a partner on board, here are a few things to keep in mind as you make that decision.
Make sure their role and deliverables are outlined clearly. Ideally there should be a document for this. What specific skill set are you lacking that a partner could bring? And what will their deliverables be? This will help with tracking progress and accountability.
This may sound a bit cold but you’re not just bringing someone to come work with you on your business. That’s more of an employee. With a partner, you should look a bit further. Do they have certain connections or access to industries or potential clients that you don’t? If you don’t have enough capital at the moment, do they have enough money to invest as a partner to make up for what you’re lacking financially? Think through some of these things.
Are they in debt or have they made some enemies in the past? Not everyone would have a squeaky-clean past, but it’s important to lay everything on the table so you’re not caught by surprise by any future revelations of this person.
An exit strategy.
Develop an exit strategy and discuss how a partnership dissolution will be handled. It may be all sweet in the beginning but don’t assume you’ll be partners forever. Either of you may decide to move on. So, there should be an outline how this will be handled. What the partner gets or has to forfeit when walking away. The same applies to a partnership dissolution.