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  • Writer's pictureThe Self-Made Entrepreneur

Teaming Up in Business: Is a Partnership Right for You?

Ever had a scoop of Ben & Jerry's ice cream? Before they became a global sensation, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were childhood friends from Vermont. They dove into the world of ice cream after taking a modest $5 course and set up their first shop in an old gas station. It's fascinating how Ben's flair for unique flavors combined with Jerry's business sense turned a humble venture into a renowned brand. Considering joining forces with a partner? Let's take a deep drive into business partnerships:

Advantages of Having a Business Partner

  1. Varied Skills: Like Ben with his innovative flavors and Jerry's business acumen, two partners can merge unique talents.

  2. Shared Responsibilities: The complexities of business are more manageable when divided between two.

  3. Moral Support: Through the highs and lows, it's reassuring to have someone beside you, sharing insights or simply listening.

  4. Expanded Network: With two, the range of acquaintances and professional contacts naturally increases, broadening potential opportunities.

  5. Increased Capital: Pooling resources can often make the initial stages of business easier, whether it's for investment or day-to-day operations.

Challenges of Having a Business Partner

  1. Shared Profits: As revenues flow in, they are divided between the partners.

  2. Differing Opinions: There will be times when views diverge, which can lead to disagreements.

  3. Slower Decision-Making: With more stakeholders, arriving at a consensus might require more time.

  4. Disparity in Commitment: It's crucial that both partners invest relatively equal time and effort, lest imbalances arise.

  5. Exiting the Business: Should the need arise to part ways, navigating the separation can be complex.

Selecting Your Business Partner

1. Aligned Vision: Ensure that both partners are on the same page in terms of the business's future.

2. Complementary Expertise: Seek a partner who offers something you might lack, be it in skills or experience.

3. Absolute Trust: A successful partnership is built on unwavering trust.

4. Trial Collaboration: Before making a long-term commitment, maybe work together on a smaller project to evaluate compatibility.

5. Written Agreement: Always outline roles, responsibilities, and exit strategies in a formal document.

Maintaining a Healthy Partnership

  1. Transparent Communication: Foster an environment where thoughts, concerns, and ideas are freely shared.

  2. Routine Discussions: Schedule regular meetings to evaluate the business's course and discuss any potential issues.

  3. Clear Role Definitions: Ensure clarity in duties to prevent overlaps and confusion.

  4. Conflict Resolution: Disagreements are inevitable; having a strategy in place is essential.

  5. Celebrate Achievements: Relish the shared successes and milestones along the way.

Questions to Ponder Before Partnering Up

  1. Why do I need a partner? Can the reasons be addressed through hiring or external consultation?

  2. Do I trust this person with significant decisions, even in my absence?

  3. Are we both financially stable and ready for this commitment?

  4. How do we handle conflicts in general? Is there a mutual respect even during disagreements?

  5. Are our personal and professional goals in harmony?

  6. How will we handle it if one of us wants to exit or take a different direction?

  7. Is there a shared work ethic and level of commitment to the business?


In essence, just like Ben & Jerry, a successful partnership is a blend of complementary skills, trust, and a shared vision. While business is undoubtedly demanding, with the right partner by your side, it becomes a journey of shared experiences, growth, and achievements. On the other hand, going solo offers unparalleled freedom and flexibility. Evaluate your reasons, ask the right questions, and make an informed decision for yourself. Both paths have their own unique charm; the most important factor is choosing the one that resonates with your heart and ambition.


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