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Did you start your first company with a business-partner?

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Lukas Ogonowski

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Hello fastlaners.
I'm 16 years of age, and im currently in the making of a business. I attend to college currently, but have plenty of time. However, I could in some scenarios use a business partner to discuss further changes of business and so forth.

Did you guys start your first business alone or with a business partner?
 

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applesack

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Business partner?

Get a mentor, not a partner. In my opinion you never need a partner. In almost all cases a partner will not be in the "fast lane" with you. In any case, your parter will not agree with you about a lot of important things. Ditch the partner, get a mentor.

The one case where partners are okay are professional services. Attorneys, Doctors, etc. Its because they are really not partnering in a business. They are partnering in advertising and overhead. They don't typically share clients or projects, etc.

I started two successful businesses without partners and one with a partner. I started the third with a partner because he was a good friend and had worked for me in the past. That business went straight to hell. He disagreed with everything I did and eventually I sold the company to him for 2% of value just to be rid of it. So, let me reiterate: he was a good friend of 15 years, he had worked for me before and we had a great relationship, the partnership blew it all to hell.

There are a lot of really great people in the world. Hire them, or get advice from them. Never partner with them. Its just not worth the risk of divided interests.
 

Arun Siva

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If you need capital its a different story; having a mentor is one thing but if you have a good idea that requires capital you may need to pool resources and draw up a good contract that CLEARLY states all respective parties roles and responsibilities. Always have an exit strategy (a viable one) if having partners
 

G-Man

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I don't want to discourage you from business, but I wouldn't tell a 16 yr old he was ready to get married, so I don't think I'd tell him to enter into a partnership.

A partnership between 2 16 yr olds wouldn't work out any better than a marriage would.

@Arun Siva is right in a sense, but I sincerely doubt anybody is going to become a non-voting partner and just turn over their capital to someone your age.

Find a mentor.
 

applesack

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If you need capital its a different story; having a mentor is one thing but if you have a good idea that requires capital you may need to pool resources and draw up a good contract that CLEARLY states all respective parties roles and responsibilities. Always have an exit strategy (a viable one) if having partners

I sort of agree with this, but the contract and operating agreement have to be bulletproof. They must specify the way the company is valued or exactly how a valuation is to be determined, and there must be a "burn down" clause so that either partner at any point can pull the plug and be gone. Believe me, with an agreement like this, both parties will think long and hard about entering. Look at an Attorney's partnership agreement... you will get some good insight.
 

MidwestLandlord

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As @G-Man said, you're 16. Too young for a partnership for sure. Definitely lay the foundation in your life NOW to excel at whatever it is you decide to do, but ultimately you're still 16.

But to answer your question:

1st business: No partner. Only went out of business because I chose to.
2nd: Had multiple partners. Big net income, split too many ways. I sold out my stake.
3rd: Had a partner. I did all the work because he got sick. We went broke.
4th: Had a partner. This worked OK, but the business ended up just being a full time job. We sold out when we got sick of it.
5th: Current business. Have a partner. I work 60+ hours a week, he works 5 hours a week. He's old and tired. I'm pushing him to sell to a competitor, because he is running us into the ground refusing to scale.
6th: Current fastlane project. No partner, replaces about 65% of my annual expenses and I don't have to share that income with anyone haha.

It's like getting married. Even with a pre-nup that protects you, that doesn't mean the relationship won't go sour. You can write partnership agreements that make it very hard to break up the partnership, or agreements that make it very easy to break up the partnership. Which one really makes any sense? Either way, you lose control because it's either exceptionally difficult to get out of the deal if you want to, or your partner can just push the big red button and nuke the whole business on a whim.

I'm done with partnerships.

I hope my rant helped you for future decision making. Take "control" seriously, it can make or break you.
 

G-Man

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I'll play this game:

Business 1: No partner. Failed because it was a terrible idea with even worse execution.
Business 2: Partner was a family member. Failed because you can't tell a family member what to do.
Business 3: No partner. Turned into a job, and a shit job at that. Dissolved and moved on.
Business 4: Current, no partner. just getting really going in last 6 months. I'll let you know how it turns out.
 

AgainstAllOdds

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You don't need a business partner.

But honestly, if you're just starting out, you should question if your goal is to learn while building a small business (so that future ventures are a lot more profitable), or if it is to build a big business that will sustain you for life.

If it's to learn (which it is for 99% of people), then it doesn't matter if you have a business partner. Think of it as a study buddy instead of a "partner". You have to start somewhere. Having someone that you can talk to and learn with is a huge benefit.

Even if all you learn is that you hate having partners, then it's better to learn that now than to make that mistake when you're older.
 

ZF Lee

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Because 16 year olds are generally immature, obvious.
They aren't really ready to even be battle hardened by MJ's Fastlane.
They would be more concerned with parties and grades rather than entrepreneurship.
I know because I WAS ONE OF THEM.
 

Scot

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What you need to realize is a partnership is like a marriage. In fact it can be even more difficult that a marriage. I know at your age you don't see the problem in that, but once you tack on a few more years you'll see that it's a difficult prospect to survive through at that age.


I'll play this game, it may turn into venting.

Current business is first one I've started. Started a partnership because we were friends. There was really no other reason than that. I did it because I was scared that I didn't know what I was doing or how to start a business.

6 months later I've contributed 100% of the capital, do majority of the work. I've created our website 100% from scratch, built our entire email list on my own, run all of our advertising, created an indiegogo campaign, produced a commercial, and designed our entire MVP.

He posts pictures on IG when I remind him. If this business goes anywhere, he gets 50% of the profit. Lesson learned the hard way.
 

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ZF Lee

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Current business is first one I've started. Started a partnership because we were friends. There was really no other reason than that. I did it because I was scared that I didn't know what I was doing or how to start a business.
Sigh...meritocracy in business gets so screwed when we prefer friends and family for trust instead of merits and proficiency...

I suppose the rule of the thumb is that the business 'can't serve two masters'
 

Scot

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Sigh...meritocracy in business gets so screwed when we prefer friends and family for trust instead of merits and proficiency...

I suppose the rule of the thumb is that the business 'can't serve two masters'

At the time I didn't know any better. I learned a lot in the past 6 months. I'm definitely having seconds of humble pie.
 

ZF Lee

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At the time I didn't know any better. I learned a lot in the past 6 months. I'm definitely having seconds of humble pie.
Better have pie for tea than shit shoved down my throat :playful::playful::shit:
 

MidwestLandlord

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I did it because I was scared that I didn't know what I was doing or how to start a business.

Thanks for being honest. I think a lot of people get business partners for that reason. It's like a form of validation or something along those lines. I've been there, done that for sure.

It's easy to rationalize why I needed a partner "he's better at XYZ than I am!"...when really it was just good old fashioned fear instead.

In fact it can be even more difficult that a marriage.

So true. I didn't think that was even possible until I had a business partner.
 

Lukas Ogonowski

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Current business is first one I've started. Started a partnership because we were friends. There was really no other reason than that. I did it because I was scared that I didn't know what I was doing or how to start a business.

I can relate to that! It's really one of the main reasons i've been searching to join a partnership - So would you suggest for me to search for the fastlane alone?
 

G-Man

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What you need to realize is a partnership is like a marriage. In fact it can be even more difficult that a marriage.

I thought I made this clear, but apparently didn't. I guess constant sarcasm has it's limits. @Scot clearly has better explanatory powers than me, so... Gman out.
 

Scot

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I can relate to that! It's really one of the main reasons i've been searching to join a partnership - So would you suggest for me to search for the fastlane alone?


Enough people already suggested it. Seek out a mentor. Look in your local area for entrepreneur clubs or even young entrepreneur clubs. Talk to people you know who are business owners or see if friend's or family know any successful business owners and see if they'll mentor you. There are plenty of threads here on how to gain a mentor, I'll let you do that research.

But yes, go at it on your own. There's a great community here that will help you along the was as long as you show that you're doing everything possible first help yourself.
 

Mikkel

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I can relate to that! It's really one of the main reasons i've been searching to join a partnership - So would you suggest for me to search for the fastlane alone?

I would suggest going in alone at this point. Try and find a business that is not capital intensive and just dive head first. Ask a ton of questions here at the Fastlane Forum. If you can get through a business by yourself from start to finish(whether you fail or succeed) you will learn a whole lot about the process of starting a business.

As you can see, from the people who have posted here, there was no person who said:

"First Business: Successful. Still working on it after 20 years and making a killing"

Most people have to learn through the process of failing.

For myself, I'm working on my first business. I have a partner who I look at like a mentor because he has already started a few businesses before. I know his motivation is similar to my own, as we went through an Army Ranger Styled camp together. Mental toughness is key and I could tell that he had it.
Don't exclude partnerships out completely. My recommendation is to not partner with just anyone, but find someone who can provide significant value to the company. They also need to have the right mindset for business as well as self motivation.

Good Luck and Start Failing(Learning) Quick!
 

applesack

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I can relate to that! It's really one of the main reasons i've been searching to join a partnership - So would you suggest for me to search for the fastlane alone?

Yeah, you are getting the idea. Go it alone, but with guidance. There are a lot of people that would be willing to mentor a hardworking young person. Beware, though, there are even more that will use you and abuse you because you are young and naive... hah! And they will call it "mentoring."

Anyway, if you find a person that seems like a good mentor, talk about him or her here... you will get good feedback!
 

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applesack

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Look in your local area for entrepreneur clubs or even young entrepreneur clubs. Talk to people you know who are business owners or see if friend's or family know any successful business owners and see if they'll mentor you.

Yes, yes, yes! I cannot agree with this advice more. There are a lot of these. Here in Albuquerque there is a group I cannot recommend enough called ABQid. I can almost guaranty that you have a similar group near you.

The most important thing about these clubs? The connections you can make are amazing. You will get a lot of stupid advice, some good advice, and on occasion some stellar advice... that is just life. But what you will get on a regular basis is amazingly great contacts. People who, like you, are working and fighting to "get it right." Many times you can help each other... but, still, IMO, don't form a partnership even when you find the best person ever.
 

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