The million dollar question most startups die from…

How wonderful would it be to share the work load with a partner? How magical and cool would it be to have someone, as passionate and dedicated as you are,  to share the journey to success in your start up? It would be absolutely phenomenal!

What are the chances of this perfect partnership happening? Slim. Very, very slim. Did your bubble just burst?  That’s ok. You may have saved years and tons of money in a matter of seconds.

Before I discuss the pros and cons of bringing in business partners, we need to look at other key factors that might be killing your startup. If you’re not the patient type, scroll down to the big header that says:  TO BRING A BP IN OR NOT TO BRING A BP IN?

Let’s look at the top 10 Startup Mistakes as published by 100 First Hits in 2013.

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Top 10 Startup Mistakes copy

Mistake no 1: Building something nobody wants

You’re not in business until there’s real money being paid in your bank account by your clients. You. Are. Not. In. Business. Until. Someone. Buys. Your. Stuff. With. Real. Money.  That should be priority no 1. Getting paid. For real. ASAP!

Assuming you’ve passed the launch phase;

  1. you are clear on who will buy your stuff,
  2. you totally understand their pain / challenges,
  3. you know the problem you solve,
  4. your market needs and buys your product or an existing similar product, and
  5. you’re qualified to deliver the goods to the standard of your big promise

… cause those are pre-requisites in all the consulting / coaching / mentoring / expert advice type of businesses.  Without the 5 above items, you don’t have a business. Just an idea, no matter how genius it is, that no one wants to buy.  So if you’ve ticked off those 5 items,  you’ve dodged the no 1 biggest mistake. High five!

Mistake no 3: Lack of focus (yes, I have skipped no 2… I’ll get to that in another article)

The next challenge for consulting / coaching / expert type startups is focus. Here’s what goes on in your head that’s slowing you down or killing your startup:

  • “I can’t select a specific niche; I don’t want to pigeon hole myself” –> You suffer from the fear of missing out on revenue or you’re concerned that there are not enough people to buy your stuff. Yes, it would be nice if millions of people would buy your product / service… but what you need when you start is 1 person, then another, and another…
  • “I can do this, and I can do that, and this other thing, and I love that… ohhh… shiny object!”  –> It’s confusing the shit out of your potential clients. What is it that they should trust you for? What is it that you are an expert at? Better than anybody else? Why would they give their money to you and not the next person advertising this service? Would you get heart surgery from the guy who can also sell you spices? Nope. Not a chance. It’s not even a rational decision… it’s an instinctual decision, taken by your limbic system. So you can’t expect your client’s limbic system to trust you if you wouldn’t trust yourself.
  • “I can’t limit myself just to one target market; the whole world needs my product / service!” –> Sure… so tell me, how are you going to create an ad, that speaks to everybody, that everybody can identify with, that will make everyone feel like you really know their problem….therefore are a part of the solution? That’s mission impossible. You’re setting yourself up for failure. Pick a market, or go with the market that is currently picking you. Get to know them. Solve their problem. Deliver what you promise and enjoy the amazing feeling of being a successful entrepreneur.

How to ensure you stay focussed?

Get clients. Start with 1. Put your head down and deliver an amazing, high quality result for your client. Get another one, real, alive, paying client… and blow their mind with your cool stuff. Repeat until you believe it. Until, there is money in your account, real currency, to pay your bills and go on a week’s holiday.

Get clear on who needs your product/ service, that you can help, to the highest standard, and start building a tribe of happy clients. This implies, getting the job done, getting paid, and then telling the world about success stories you’ve contributed to.

 

Now, let’s tackle mistake no 5: Having the wrong co founder

TO BRING A BP IN OR NOT TO BRING A BP IN?

The million dollar question killing thousands of startups every year.

First, let’s have a look at some of the reasons why you’re thinking about getting a business partner. Let’s get real…

WARNING: you may find this a little confronting.

  1. You don’t believe you can actually pull this off on your own. You don’t think you’re enough.
    • What you’re saying out loud:
      • You’re not ready… you need help / support, etc…
      • Two heads are better than one…
      • We’re stronger together…
      • Sharing the workload will make us successful quicker.
  2. You think you need a capital injection… and nothing can happen before the money is on board.
    • What you’re saying out loud:
      • This is a huge project…
      • My money is tied up in…
      • That’s what venture capital is for…
      • Having business partner (s) / investors proves that it’s a great idea
  3. You don’t have the necessary skills to get the project off the ground.
    • What you’re saying out loud:
      • This is a 2 part project…
      • I’ll contribute by doing…
      • It’s my concept and I’m happy to share ownership with you because you’re so wonderful
      • We both bring years of experience to the table…
  4. You’re not 100% committed,
    • What you’re saying out loud:
      • If there’s someone else involved it will keep you motivated. Things will get done.
      • I have my fingers in many pies…
      • I’m a serial entrepreneur…
      • Gotta edge your bets!
      • The rich people of the world have several income streams…
  5. You are lonely.
    • What you’re saying out loud:
      • I’m a team player
      • It’s so much more fun doing this together

If you’re thinking about getting a business partner for any of the 5 reasons above, save yourself some time and money, and don’t get a business partner.

So, when is it a good idea to have a business partner? In very rare occasions. If you can manage to start your business without a business partner, bring some income in, deliver outstanding results for your clients, you’ll have come across several opportunities to partner up with others who haven’t been able to achieve that on their own. Let’s face it, a very small percentage of entrepreneurs ever make any money from their business project. Stay focussed. Get clients; they’re way more profitable than business partners.

 

What are the alternatives to getting a business partner?

  • Outsource. Hiring smart and totally productive contractors, only if and when you are overflowing, or for tasks that are not in your area of expertise e.g. no need to learn how to build your own website if you’re a life coach, or an accounting consultant. That’s a waste of your time. Later on, maybe, eventually, if necessary, hire employees.
  • Commercial agreements with other successful, non competing businesses. I’ll discuss the 4 commercial benefits of establishing smart commercial agreements with other businesses in the next article.
  • Get mentored. By someone who is having the results you want, or by someone who has a whole tribe of people like you, that they have mentored, and can attest to your mentor’s relevance. Proven track record is the key. A great mentor will save you time and money, will boost your confidence, will point you in the right direction & guide you with mindset challenges, accelerating your ascension towards your ultimate success goals.

 

If there’s anything about this article you wish to discuss with me, tell me when you’re available, I’ll give you a call. CLICK HERE

 

Big caring hugs rockstars!

Nat