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To partner or not to partner in business – Pros and Cons

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by The Moderator 4 Comments

Emi: To reach a goal you have to do all sorts. The Goal is there but the method is just as important.  It may cost u something but if integrity is a key facet of your company, you will avoid some partnerships. You must have certain lines in the sand that you won’t cross.

Otisi: I am all for integrity. However, one man’s integrity is another man’s “Shit-house” (excuse the word).

Kunle: It’s dangerous in business to go into partnership on the basis of common enemy or common goals alone. I think partnerships also come in various forms, e.g I could partner with a company to make a joint bid, that does not necessarily make us best of friends or share common goals but it means we recognize value and our need for each other.

Tobi: I think to partner effectively, one should articulate what is going to be beneficial to each party and build your business and compensation model around these factors. As a business you must determine very quickly what values are required and are important to the proprietors. Some you can determine from the onset but others you make it up as you go along.

Otisi: So what’s the objective of a partnership? And can shared visions have different goals?

Emi: You can have a shared vision of a good life. Where people get it twisted is that, Good life/business etc means different things to different people.

Otisi: But what happens when integrity is playing against life etc. This should have been determined before becoming “joint proprietors”.

Chiekezi: Fundamental principles and beliefs are critical. Let me just say this, most partnerships are not worth the paper their contracts are written on. ALL my most successful partnerships never started with any paperwork but simply a common vision and trust and most importantly, FRIENDSHIP.

Emi: Most of us went in green and have been burnt well. Experience has been my greatest teacher.

Otisi: When you’re still standing after burns… It is good. I think when it comes to any partnership, it is about what you’re willing to give up/sacrifice for a common goal.

Tobi: But you must still share some ethos or else that is a recipe for disaster.

Kunle: I actually have a partnership today that is only about making money and there is no ‘ ethos’ involved. Well the ethos is make money and no wahala. Lol.

Otisi: How can I be a part of this ?

Kunle: Lol !! Collaborations are key in this economy but we don’t do enough of that.

Emi: Because people are afraid to share. If I open up to u and share information, how do I know you won’t screw me. I believe u must share information. It’s the only way to build trust. Yes its a risk but…you look well before you leap and hope

Kunle: True… But you only volunteer what is necessary per time.

Tobi: Experiences usually get the best of us. I think clearly defining what every party is bringing to the table is critical and the depth of the partnership should be based on contribution to the vision and objectives of the business.

Chiekezi: Information in this digital age is everywhere. How it’s used is the key.

Otisi: Every other day people bring business opportunities to me and I sometimes jump in and sometimes I let them go. Never do I look for agreements etc Because I have a belief that If anybody wants to cheat you, They will. I just jump in to achieve what I can. Business is a different kind of politics, the same way politics Is the business to some people.

Tobi: Experiences usually get the best of us. I think clearly defining what every party is bringing to the table is critical and the depth of the partnership should be based on contribution to the vision and objectives of the business

Gbenga: Politics and partnership is like the devil and the deep blue sea. Full of connivance. I think if we liken all partnerships to marriage…


The Octagon: A good number of the things mentioned seem to be the fear of many and reasons why they don’t collaborate. However if these collaborations are necessary, how do business owners best go about this.


Kunle: I’m a firm believer in partnerships but one of the challenges I face is that I end of doing most of the work. Exit clauses are critical.

Gbenga: Go in with your eyes open. You have great marriages because there was proper courtship…knowing each other and trusting before you agree to go in. Same as business – know your would be partner. Court, Trust, and Engage. If in doubt, butt out, another will come. Also, there needs to be Mutual understanding.

Tobi: I think you just need to be clear on what you want from the partner and what would best motivate them to deliver their best. Sometimes, relationships are transactional, hence you don’t need an elaborate partnership model.

Emi: Take your time, and Believe people when they show you who they are. Also, understand yourself.

Otisi: Businesses need to have clear objectives and plans. I will do business with someone I don’t trust/like if I am able to plan and see the beginning to the end. If I can’t, I’ll be weary and may not even partner. I think the key thing that affects people when it comes to partnerships is what other people think. Most times I couldn’t care less.

Gbenga: Let’s not misconstrue doing business and partnering. Partnership is having a mini-you…more like a mirror of you in your business and either can take decisions.

Bankole: Fascinating. Where I come from, things are a tad simpler. One person executes an idea and they are a sole founder. If more than one, they are co-founders. People will only typically co-found a company with clear terms about equity splits, usually from day one. They might not do so at the idea/MVP stage, but the minute it looks like there is an actual business to be had and they are considering approaching investors, that conversation will be had and gotten out of the way. Most startup accelerators make co-founding a requirement. Solo founders, at least in my space, are not rare, but they aren’t teeming. Because startups need to move fast and break things and find a scalable business model in the shortest amount of time, by default we are wired to seek out people who complement us. Founder agreements and vesting clauses take care of most potential disputes, for the ones who have the presence of mind to set them up in advance.

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4 Responses

  1. Subomi says:

    Partnership can be beneficial or detrimental to the existence of any business, this depends on it’s basis and execution.

    It is a strategy that can be adopted for expansion or penetrating into new markets but with caution. Partnership should not be based on sentiments or emotions but strictly on individual values, vision, ethics and passion. Proper legalities have to be put in place and expectations clearly spelt out. Sometimes a business grows to a point that you definitely need to collaborate.

  2. Chidi says:

    I am faced with a partnership problem at this moment.

    I have a business prosect where my business partner lives in an environment where her vision could be darkly clouded in the nearest future. Though i faced with pressure from neighbours to get her on-board my ship.

    I have come to the conclusion to make it a short-term partnership (bear-the-risk) hire a capable and experienced partner (not-mind-cost).

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