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One plus one equals done in my life.
The one thing I’ve done in business different than most people is I’ve partnered in business. I currently have six business partners. Why? Well, what I have learned is there’s exponential power in a partnership. One person can do this, but two people going together can produce so much more.
People ask tell me, “Do you like sharing the profit. Is it a problem? Sharing the money.” And I’ve always thought, 50% of a lot is better than 100% of a little. Kind of like what Red Hoffman said, “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy…if you’re playing a solo game, you will always lose out to a team”. I think there’s power in multiple people.
Why Do You Partner?
Filling In the Gaps
I partner when I see that there’s an obvious gap to where I need to be. I realize I am here, the destination is here, and I can’t get me there by myself. So there’s a gap. I realize that if I partner with somebody, we could get to scale faster. Just pure speed, faster. That person can help take me further. They know something or there’s something they’ve got that can help us go further, faster.
Another reason why I partner is you share problems at 2 o’clock in the morning. Someone else is also worrying about that problem.
Many times my partners will come to me and they’ve got it 95% solved and they just want me to sign off on it. You create momentum with two people. One person can’t create momentum. One person can do a lot of work, but there’s something about two people creating the momentum.
I just find that two people come up with better ideas. Two people can put a guard rail on a bad idea. When a founder is the only person that is testing or vetting their ideas, they tend to think all their ideas are great. Collaboration is why I partner.
When things are going to crap, with partnerships, you can play zone defense in trouble times. Typically, if your partners are pretty smart, you understand all the key positions in the company, and one of you can take over a key role if somebody leaves or somebody gets sick or goes on maternity leave.
It’s just fun, man. I love my business partnerships. I always say when things are horrible, it’s better to have a partnership because you can share the problems.
I shared that the 2 AM issue, but when things are great, oh, it’s so much more fun. It’s so much more fun to celebrate with somebody else.
I like what Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks said.
Success is best when it’s shared.
When Do You Partner?
To Manage Time
I think it’s wise to partner when you don’t have the time necessary to do what needs to be done.
I want to look at time differently because there’s going to be time on the front end and on the back end. Let’s say I’m the CEO of Company A, but I’m an entrepreneur and I have a great idea for Company B. Well, I don’t necessarily give up company A to start company B. I typically keep my company because it’s paying me well. You never kill the golden goose. So I will partner with somebody who provides the time needed to operate company B.
To Fulfill a Critical Role
They could fill a critical role in the organization. For example, if you have a program within your company that obviously the success of your company, your clients are dependent on, and something goes down, you don’t want to have a programmer who’s a freelancer. Try getting in touch with that person. Maybe patents or legal matters are critical in this business, well, you might want to have a partner who’s a lawyer. If manufacturing is critical, and let’s say you’re manufacturing in China, so you can’t be everywhere, maybe you partner with somebody who handles that and they like to travel, so they take care of that.
Maybe somebody has a better handle on sales than you do. Companies go out of business for one reason 99% of the time: they fail to make enough sales to stay in business. Sales would be a good reason to partner. Somebody could completely handle that sales and marketing end.
Let’s say it’s a big organization, you’re going to be overseeing a lot of people. Management might be something that you need help with. You’ve never managed people before. You got this great idea, but you’re going to need to bring on quite a few employees quickly to get it to scale. Somebody going to need to manage them.
This is a person that you’re going to pay good money to hire and you can’t afford to lose. Good money to hire + can’t afford to lose. That person is worth partnering with.
You may partner with somebody because they have money and they may not be involved in the business. You may have to run things by them because you are using their money, but they provide capital. I have started companies early on, two companies where somebody provided the capital and bought both of them out pretty quickly. I paid good money to buy them up, but I know without their capital there would’ve never been a company. Remember, a partnership is A plus B equals C. Without me, you couldn’t get to C.
They have industry experience, licensing, or credibility.
Somebody just pitched a business to me and wanting me to kind of vet the idea, and it was online learning, and they had all the capacity to do the video and to distribute. They really had this down pat, but due to the virus, this was going to be for like kindergarten through middle school, and I said, “This is where your partner, you need somebody with credibility, you need somebody with a doctorate in front of their name, you need somebody with education experience. Not only that, you need somebody who can help you get accredited. You guys have all this I of the technology, you can do it, you can market it, but you’re missing a major component. You have no credibility in educational space, so you need that credibility, somebody with a nice doctor in front of their name, with a nice resume, somebody who’s experienced getting accreditation.”
They have an image and reputation that you desperately need. For example, Shaq with Papa John’s. Do you think he really bought into that deal? I think if he did, he bought in on pennies on a dollar. Brett Favre with Copper Fit. You may need an image and or you need a reputation to take your business and launch it, to give it credibility. This is very common with public figures. Athletes do this.
Network to Leverage
They have a network. This is very common with Shark Tank. I’ve interviewed a lot of Shark Tank guests on my podcast, and what they’ve shared with me is it’s not the money the sharks gave that was so valuable, but their network. You know, like Laurie, she obviously is the connection with QVC and they all have these incredible networks.
Splitting Up Tasks
Dividing and conquering the tasks to get the business off the ground. Two are better than one.
Who Is the Right Partner?
They have integrity, they have liability. You just work well with them. There is a yin and yang, push and pull. You have complementary personalities and are highly driven.
Think about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Walt Disney. They were all the front men, but they each had partners that were critical in the success of their companies. Their personalities were far more backseat. I mean, you think of Warren Buffet, but you rarely think of Charlie Munger. Take Bill Gates, but you rarely think of Paul Allen. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak. There was Walt Disney, and there was Roy Disney.
I’ll tell you who not to partner with: your buddy. Buddies are great. They’re in your life for a reason, or they’re in your life for a lifetime, but are they in your life to go into business with? You only partner with somebody who brings that “B” to the equation. If you bring in a buddy, you end up having to buy them out. It’ll ruin a friendship. They don’t bring anything to the table. The only thing they brought to the table is friendship. They can be your friend without being your business partner.