The beauty of partnership…

January 25, 2007

Seth and I have been working together for some time now on OnCard. The one thing I realize is how much I appreciate having a partner with whom to share the experience (and all the work). I realize how much work there is to do to launch a new business, ranging from sales, marketing, technology, operations, finance, book-keeping, legal, PR, vendor relationships, etc. The list goes on. This is a lot of stuff for one person to do. Starting a business from scratch is hard enough for two people. I can only imagine the pain that would be required to start a business like ours from scratch with only one person. There are companies out there that are started by one person, but I have to imagine that doesn’t last for long. As in our situation, Seth and I have different skill sets, and I am hard-pressed to believe that one entrepreneur has both the time and abilities to handle all these critical responsibilities.

I think that partnerships can be a double-edged sword. Having partners means that you need to share decision making responsibilities, which is not normally desirable for some entrepreneurs. Many business owners like to be the one in control, but that is neither optimal or feasible for most start-ups.

If our situation, Seth and I always talked about going into business together. We are close friends from college and have always gotten along well. However, people warned that going into business with a friend would mean the end of that friendship. Luckily for us, that does not seem to be the case. It has actually worked out very well for us, because we have that long-standing friendship. We both feel that if only one of us had started this business, it would have been incredibly isolating and lonely, and we wouldn’t have had the support structure to get through the hard-times. Also, having a good friend to share the experience with has made it all the more fun and rewarding.

Some people say that they’d rather struggle alone than risk bringing on the wrong kind of partner. I agree with that rationale to a point. However, if you bring on the right partner, I believe you increase the chances of success for your start-up exponentially, or at least that is what Seth and I hope is the case with our start-up.

In fact, things have worked out so well so far that we are considering bringing on an additional (third) partner to help run the company. This will be a trickier decision because we will not have the pre-existing level of trust that goes with knowing this guy from college. This will be a challenge and will require some good advice by others who we know have been through this process before. We’ll just have to let you know how it plays out…

JT

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