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Entrepreneurship: should I get a partner or not?

Entrepreneurial endeavour will be a collective effort from idea to execution, resulting in a business being built around a partnership of complete equal ownership and responsibility, a South Africa-based expert said this week.

More commonly, however, an idea will sprout from a single individual who, upon cultivating the concept and embarking on their entrepreneurial journey, must decide whether they want – or need – a business partner to join them, according to Christo Botes.

Botes is the spokesperson for the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year, an SME competition sponsored by South African insurance giant Sanlam and Business Partners.
“There are definitely pros and cons to both approaches, but one thing is for sure – deciding whether or not to take on a business partner is one of the most critical decisions an entrepreneur will ever make with regards to their business,” he said.

The prospect of starting and running a business solo has some obvious appeal, and deciding to go it alone will, for starters, allows an entrepreneur to have full control over their business, requiring no input from anyone else along the way, he explained.

“This autonomy, of course, also results in claiming all profits, as well as credit, for any success achieved in the business over time,” he said, warning that starting and running a business solo was not for everyone.

“Just as working alone allows one person to reap all the rewards, it also means that the risk of failure and full liability falls squarely on that one person’s shoulders.
“Having a partner will invariably spread the risk, as additional sources of cash flow can be introduced and one person won’t have to bear the responsibility alone if the business doesn’t work out as planned.”

Chanette Goosen, co-owner of Rush Extreme Sports and 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, also added her voice on the issue.
“In addition to financial support, a partner can also bring untold psychological support to what can, at times, be a very overwhelming experience,” Goosen said.

“There comes a point when a business grows beyond what you can handle and, at this point, you need to acknowledge that two brains are better than one – so long as there is a shared passion and a common goal.”

Furthermore, Botes stressed that while the best mode of approach would vary depending on the type, size and stage of the business, it largely came down to personal preference. “Deciding whether or not to take on a partner is a decision that carries both economical and emotional ramifications. Not only can the business’s future prosperity depend on it, but it can also impact on your future happiness.

It is therefore essential that, when making a decision of this magnitude, an entrepreneur considers all aspects of their business, as well as personal attitudes, to ensure they end up with an approach that is right for them and their business venture.

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