James is from Grenada and Jason is from St. Kitts. They met at a young leaders’ conference and became great friends because of their love of entrepreneurship. They shared some ideas and Boom! They find that they have an idea that is similar.
It is so similar that the ideas have very little points of distinction if any at all. As a matter of fact, the only difference is that Jason has implemented the idea while James is still trying to figure out how to do it.
They have a marked difference in personality too. Jason is the implementer, highly analytical, detail oriented and a problem solver who loves interacting with others while James is the idea man. He sees the big picture and he doesn’t quite enjoy the networking aspect of entrepreneurship. He has a few ideas on how they can possibly expand to make a company based on said idea more profitable.
Do you see what I see?
Anyways, James and Jason go their separate ways, each chipping away at a similar idea, each bringing strengths to fill the void that each of their companies are leaving in an already very small market place. In the stead of partnering, they compete.
James’ and Jason’s approach represent the approach of many young entrepreneurs. Many have taken so much time to build the discipline and focus necessary that they find it hard to share any success with another individual. Many simply want to say that they did it alone. However if done strategically, partnering can be highly beneficial to you as an individual and more importantly to your company.
Here are two great reasons to partner up:
Partner Up When You’re Looking To Do Great Things
Steve Jobs said something profound and I continue to regard it highly:
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”
Steve Jobs was not by any shot an incompetent individual. He was extremely brilliant and he is lauded one of the most innovative minds of our time. But he acknowledged that he could not have accomplished what he did with Apple without his partner, Wozniak; he acknowledged that Apple would not have been Apple without the design genius of Jonathan Ive.
Young entrepreneurs (it has nothing to do with age and everything to do with experience) tend to want to do things independently. They have a particular goal and become so focused on achieving it and attaining the satisfaction that comes with achieving it that they often shun the idea of allowing another individual into their sphere.
However great partnerships grow companies. Great partnerships build great companies. When partnerships are fostered, the company becomes a sum of all of the skills, strengths, talents and intellect of these partnerships as opposed to the sum of one person. It is possible that alone, you will achieve some measure of greatness but it is nothing compared to the greatness to be achieved if you just partner up!
Partner Up Because You Need Support
An authentic self assessment will reveal to you both your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re honest you can also see how these weaknesses limit the growth of your company. It is wise to find someone or individuals who can fill in the voids that your weaknesses leave.
Partnerships also provide great moral support. Entrepreneurship is not an easy road. It can be difficult. It can be stressful. It can be hard and often times you need support that your friends and family cannot give you. Sometimes only a business partner will be able to give you the depth of support you need.
Only a business partner can understand the stresses that come when it is time to pay your employees but you don’t have enough money in the bank to do so. Only a business partner can understand the feelings that come when you’ve taken out two mortgages on your home and your line of cash is still too limited.
Because they’re part of the experience, partners understand. This level of understanding breeds a quality of support that cannot be given by those who do not understand.
More than anything, partnerships are a matter of strategy. They should be entered into with enthusiasm founded on careful consideration.
Despite the need for caution when formulating partnerships, my challenge to you is that when you next meet someone with a similar business idea, a similar business, or who is part of the same industry as you, examine the possibilities of a partnership or collaboration. It may be the start of something HUGE!