In this video, Chris sits down with a group at the AIGA Design conference for an intimate roundtable discussion. He answers questions from the group and lends his advice on a variety of subjects.
On the topic of business partners and starting a formal relationship, Chris shares his experience working with partners in the past and why he ultimately made the decision to not have a business partner anymore.
One of the biggest determining factors for Chris is the line between personal and professional relationships. Personal relationships are harder to walk away from; in fact, you can never really leave them behind.
Professional relationships, on the other hand, are a bit easier to end. Think of how many 2-person bands have split over time. A lot of professional partnerships just don’t work out. That isn’t to say they’re not worth trying, but much like any relationship, you need to be careful before you make a big commitment.
One reason partnerships don’t work out is because of the constant comparison that takes place. You and your business partner may have different styles and approaches to your work, which can lead to the two of you making each other wrong. Comparing each other’s work ethic can lead to resentment down the road.
If you’re looking to have a business partner, there are a few pros and cons. On one hand, you’re working with someone who possesses a skill (or skills) you may not have. But the downside to this is missing the opportunity to learn this for yourself.
For example, if you’re inexperienced with sales, but your partner is a sales wizard, you’ll rely entirely on your partner to take care of negotiating deals. If the two of you split up later on, you’ll walk away from the partnership having 0 knowledge of how to conduct a sale.
Another upside to forming a business partnership is the shared financial burden. When the business experiences a low period, the two of you go down with it. Conversely, you may not be equally committed to the financial burden.
Above all, before you consider forming a business partnership, set your expectations from the get-go, and clearly lay out what you and your partner are committing to.