What Makes A Good Business Partner? I Have Zero Clue

When digging through my email the other night I came across an email I sent that made me laugh.  When I hit send on January 5, 2011 I could not have begin to guess what it would have morphed into nor could I imagine how much profit it would have made over the past 2 and a half years.

Email

The business and how it works is irrelevant.  Explaining it wouldn’t be worth it, but needless to say it is not an original idea and when I wrote that email it was, as I said, “rudimentry” (not sure why the partner gave me a chance when I didn’t even use spell check on that email).  We have been operating this joint venture coming up on 3 years.

In 2011 the business netted (after all expenses but before taxes) approximately $55,000; in 2012 the business netted approximately $36,000 and YTD in 2013 we are on our way to probably about $30,000 of income. Crazy amount of money? Absolutely not, but it is a hobby that provides an income stream vs. a hobby that costs money.  A little bit more about this business is below.

Who You Succeed With May Be the Last Person You Expect

Over the past few years I have tried to launch multiple business ideas (mostly low cost online sites) with some of my best friends.  The two I am thinking about particularly are hardworking and smart.  I have known one friend for 13 or so years and other 20+ years.  Those ideas have failed.  Those ideas failed before they even had a shot to launch which is all the more frustrating.  Even my investment club had a very rocky start and that was made up of 8 other buddies.

Back to the joint venture described above.  It was started with that random email to a basic stranger.  Even to this day I have only met the partner face to face once.

Like Usual Have a Theory or Two

I think I may be comparing apples to oranges within this random and discombobulated post:

  1. In the joint venture case vs. partnership with a buddy the difference is that we are essentially running two separate sites (mine being the blog you are reading today) and then co-owning other sites.  This way we are still motivated to make the flagship sites strong.
  2. The joint venture made money from day one.  The first month there was a 4 digit profit.  This has not happened in the other business ventures.   Money and profitability is a great motivator.

So, What Makes A Good Partner?

I believe that a good partnership creates something where the sum is greater than the parts.  While I wish I had an insightful ending or cheesy advice like find a partner that compliments you, I don’t.  I can’t figure out why one partnership works and the others have not.

Anyone have any ideas they’d like to share?

7 Responses to What Makes A Good Business Partner? I Have Zero Clue

  1. Interesting. I think a lot of it comes down to the idea, not the partner. If the idea is a good one, you are most likely to succeed. Yes, you can have terrible partners, but many times the idea can propel the business forward. That is just my experience over the years.

  2. Wow that’s pretty cool that a hobby can net you a decent income. I still have much to learn. My closest friend and I tried to start some website ventures back in 2006 but it failed. Part of the reason was that we didn’t really know what we were doing. He was a computer programmer but wasn’t experienced with building websites…more coding. And while he is a close friend, sometimes it bothered me that he didn’t put as much into the business. He was probably bothered that I didn’t understand the computer side enough. It is unfortunate because I keep hearing that making income from internet ventures was a lot easier back then. A wasted opportunity!

  3. Hey Evan!

    Finding the right partner for the right business idea is definitely a tough job!

    I’ve been working with the same partner for the past 6 years now and I’m very happy with our partnership.

    There is one thing we did at first it was to start a joint project (The Financial Blogger) where we both worked an equal amount of time. It was a good ideas since we worked together for 18 months without calling this a business or even a sideline. We just wanted to learn how to work together with something that was fun, but yet not profitable.

    At one point, we figured we made a good team and decided to create a real business. Honesty and transparency are keys!

  4. I think if you share the same ideas and your goals are somewhat similar, then your partnership could be fine and hopefully, be a success.

  5. dojo says:

    Good partners are rare and not easy to find, reason for me to work ‘solo’. I do have a partner on our main business (my husband, but we’re both having 2 separate specialties). Sure, I do trust him completely and he’s been an amazing partner to me (both in life and business).

    Otherwise I don’t really like partnering up. Had few small tries, but I ended up doing all the work myself. So, if I’m the one to work, I’d surely love to be the only one to take home the pay :D

  6. Well, I guess my answer to that is a) flip and b) maybe accurate, too.

    The best business partner is NOT one’s relative and NOT one’s personal friend. IMHO it’s important to think of an enterprise as a business first. A relationship with someone who has a lot of personal connections is antithetical to that.

Leave a reply