A Baker Decides, Continue Alone or Find a Partner
While this story refers to B2C businesses, the issues raised are similar in a B2B scenario. Some of the issues are hiring vs. partnering, complementary offerings, and appetite for managing the partnership, among many others.
I really enjoy being in the bakery business, but how many baked goods can my friends & family consume? I love working by myself, following my own vision. I also thrive in the “zone” as I move from task to task, baking, coming up with new recipes, chatting with clients & dabbling in marketing. The flexibility is also helpful. I’ll hire a couple of people to help out. This appeals to my not-so-inner control fiend. Keeping the bakery small for now suits me fine.
Estelle & Cheryl
I really enjoy being in the bakery business, but my friends & family have heard enough about me. Plus, it's all on me; baking, new products, manage the store, marketing, accounting. I’ve missed a couple of good opportunities for lack of time, capacity, and energy.
I met Cheryl, the owner of a coffee house the next block over. After many discussions over my cookies & her coffee, we’ve decided to establish a partnership. We each bring a successful business to the table and our products complement each other. We worked with a lawyer to get the legal stuff in place. Our combined business is doing great in both locations. We hired a few people to do the things we don’t like to do, like marketing & accounting. We’re enjoying our ability to focus on the fun parts of running our business. How cool is it to make a great living doing what we love as new best friends!
As you can see from the two scenarios, many small businesses are started by passionate, energetic people who try to do everything themselves. Some thrive in that environment. Others will want to partner with someone.
In both cases, another question to consider is that just because you can do your own non-product/service related work, should you? You started your business without marketing help & took it as far as you can while doing your own marketing (or other service you happen to be able to do). However, what got you where you are now, probably won’t get you where you’d like to go next. As you rightly focus on your offering, turning the marketing over to someone else (either full time or on a project by project basis) will help you do so effectively, no matter if you decide to continue on your own or take on a partner.