Home – New Forums Selling online How can I find a business partner I can trust?

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  • #994127
    MeirAustralia
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    Hi all,

    I’m very new to FlyingSolo (waves) so I apologise if I should have discussed this topic in another thread.

    I am the founder of an e-commerce retail and wholesale business (in the construction/bathroom/kitchen trade) that has seen very attractive grown since it started in 2013; yet I believe I do not have the capabilities to contribute to the potential growth over the next 24 months as the business has already exceeded all of my original forecasting and expectations, in fact it has quadrupled!

    I’m basically in need of a partner (or two) who has the experience to assist and/or lead the growth of the company through all of the possibilities that have now become available, but I don’t know anyone else who is in business and I’ve never sought advice for this type of thing before.

    From starting this business as a part-time venture and working on it after hours and weekends whilst also working in a full-time job, with two young kids and studying part-time in finance, I never expected this business to take off the way it has.
    By late 2013 I resigned from my job and committed to working and growing the business full-time.

    I now have a number of staff and have outsourced tasks such as warehousing and distribution. I employ the ongoing services of professionals such as PR agents, SEO, IT, Marketing, Accounting, Bookkeeping, Research, Development and more.
    I’ve recently leased a showroom in an upper-class part of Melbourne which is currently being used as an office until it’s fit-out, and have a number of other growth ventures running simultaneously.

    I’m hoping that someone here can put me in the right direction or would be able to help me avoid the pitfalls of going into business with someone I don’t know.
    As mentioned above, I literally don’t have any friends or family in business so I cannot ask anyone I know for help. This journey has been very isolated and I think it’s time I changed that.

    Thanks for everyone’s time and sorry for the long post.

    Rick

    #1195276
    JbytheBay
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    If you find one can you let me know where… just kidding.

    Here’s what I would do;

    I would draw up a profile of the skills and characteristics of the ideal business partner for my business and me (personality)

    I would then employ someone on a 6 month contract basis and see how they perform ito skills and how we work together, can we make decisions, do they just go along with everything or are they strong enough to state their opinions, are we constantly in a headlock not getting anywhere.

    For skills look at areas you are lacking and find someone strong in those areas.

    #1195277
    MeirAustralia
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    Thanks! They are some great suggestions.
    For me personally, I’m looking for someone to work in areas that I’m not skilled in, and I would continue to do what I’m good at, so ideally there shouldn’t be too much conflict or “headlocks” haha.
    I really like the idea of a contract to begin with on the basis that there are no personality conflicts or anything else (which a legal firm can include).
    Thanks :)

    #1195278
    roxanne40
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    Being in business for 25 years and having had 2 partners in 2 different businesses, I would suggest that you find an employee who can become a business partner. I now have my 5th business and I would do exactly that if I was to look for a partner in the business – I am gathering that you were not looking for financial partner more a working partner.
    One partner was perfect and the other partner after one month of working in the business developed depression and could not work. That was a very very expensive exercise.

    Why not employ someone who you think could be perfect and then after 6 months if they are showing partnership qualities offer then a stake in the business.

    Please note that everyone has different experiences and I am making a suggestion purely on my own personal experience. Employing a dynamic person with the potential of becoming a partner in the business could be a great option for you.

    Good Luck.

    #1195279
    MeirAustralia
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    Thank you Roxanne,

    That is definitely ideal, however I wasn’t clear in my original post; I am actually looking for someone to also invest financially. Although the business is turning a good profit, I am not in a position to take out a loan, which would be required to persue the growth possibilities.
    If I was to take out a loan and hire people to do the required tasks, the level of capital I would have invested would make it very hard for me to turn a staff member into a partner; and it would also reduced the staff member’s financial risk and liability, that can imbalance the business partnership workload, expectations and stress on each person.

    I’ve put countless hours into the business as well as all my savings in the beginnings to take a punt. The bet paid off, and I feel that a staff member who would come in during the times where the business is successful may not deserve to take a piece of the pie unless they were willing to put in a level of risk themself.
    I hope I don’t come across selfish, because I don’t run the company in a dictatorship or micro-manage anyone; I just like the idea of staff being remunerated for their efforts and business owners being rewarded for the risks they take financially and emotionally.
    I have never met a staff member who is willing to put in as much as a business owner even for the opportunity to join them, and I’ve worked along side hundreds of staff in my career; probably because they don’t understand what is really required; the hours, the stress, the ongoing decision making that can either make or break the business…

    Another reason I wouldn’t be able to hire someone to help me persue these opportunities is the fact that I’ve reached my level of expertise. I cannot afford to keep hitting and missing like start-ups often do. I’m at the point where I’m turning over a high revenue amount and need to be very strategic about how future decisions are executed, whilst maintaining the current growth and business operations.

    I’m worried that there’s no one out there with the required skill set that’s trust worthy who also has capital to invest (to basically show me they are also willing to stick their neck out, and not just gamble with my hard-earned business).

    #1195280
    bb1
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    My concern with bringing someone in at this stage is that they will be taking the cream of the top, after all your hard work and risk taking. You have obviously shown that you can do it, so besides the financial side of things do you really need a partner, wouldn’t it be better to hire the skills when and as you need them.
    It will mean taking a further gamble of getting more finances, but you could be giving your hard efforts to someone else, and even if they are a ”partner” it doesn’t mean their interest will be as great as yours.

    We often hear stories on here of partners, not really being equal in a partnership (sounds just like a marriage), you may just be creating yourself a bigger headache.

    #1195281
    LucasArthur
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    Sounds like a great coach could help here, unless you need cash injection or are trying to liquify your asset a little??

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1195282
    MeirAustralia
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    bb1 – I agree, but I am also hoping that the investor will have the required skill set to grow the business 3-4 times larger than it is currently so they would use my business to leverage greater success.
    As mentioned ealier, I am not willing to take a loan and hire more people/service providers than what I currently have as I am not skilled in growing a business of this scale; it’s just too risky.

    Rick

    #1195283
    MeirAustralia
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    Thanks Harry; I do have a number of business coaches but was wanting to see what the FS community thought of my situation.
    Cheers though!

    #1195284
    LucasArthur
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    MeirAustralia, post: 229821, member: 77485 wrote:
    As mentioned ealier, I am not willing to take a loan and hire more people/service providers than what I currently have as I am not skilled in growing a business of this scale; it’s just too risky.

    Rick

    Hi Rick,

    To be brutally honest, and not having met you its a little hard to say, although this statement would keep me at bay from your opportunity. GROWTH requires capital investment and if you are unwilling to introduce it or other potential employees to grow the business i would personally be thinking why not? if it is so rock solid?

    On the flip of that, if you want to grow the business without putting money in it ultimately also means you want the new partner to foot the bill for growth? This will have a price to pay with a potential new partner, they would want certainty from this situation i feel…

    Ultimately, with what i have read and reading between the lines a little it sounds like you may be ready to simply offload your baby and move onto something more in size you are comfortable with? maybe consider selling it in its entirety? Handing over a baby to a new father/mother (read partner) can be fraught with danger – loss of control, loss of focus and potentially complete loss of business.. Not saying it cant be done, although each party will want to protect themselves, making things look better for themselves in this situation being you dont know each other and this is not a good way to start business – when each party, before the business is even agreed upon, are already trying to squirrel away their nuts at the start :)

    Taking off the negative hat, i still feel coaching and self investment will ultimately reap the biggest rewards… unless you intend on becoming hands off in the business, from what i read…

    Cheers
    Jason

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1195285
    MeirAustralia
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    Hi Jason,

    Thank you for your comments. I do appreciate your opinion.
    Sorry for not mentioning before, but I’ve already put in a large amount of money into the business over the last few years (I can’t say how much, but it’s a fair amount).
    And I also hold double of my debt amount in stock-on-hand (cost) value. For example, if I put in $100k, then I would have $200k of stock on hand @ cost value.
    The main reasons why I don’t want to put in the money myself is because:
    – An investor/partner is more likely to work harder knowing they have their own money on the line
    – I don’t have the skills to outsource or hire staff for these opportunities. I could probably do it with training, coaching and trial and error, but it wouldn’t be as successful as letting another party handle this part of the business.

    If it came down to it that the “right person” was willing to put in half of the required capital, I would also agree to put half in, but they wouldn’t be eligible for 50% of my company, as I would have more overall capital invested.

    I wouldn’t be handing the reigns to anyone per-say, because I still run the overall retail operations day to day. The partner would ideally work on the new growth opportunities.

    Hope that makes it clearer?

    Cheers,

    Rick

    #1195286
    roxanne40
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    I was wondering if a good Business Broker would be a great suggestion?
    Surely they have great resources for people wanting to get into business.

    #1195287
    MeirAustralia
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    Thanks Roxanne, I’ll google a few and see what I can find.
    Rick

    #1195288
    roxanne40
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    Any updates or finding a business partner?

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