Poll: Does Having a Business Partner Improve Your Chances of Success?


Many people defend that if you want to build a successful business, you should have a partner (or more than one). The arguments used to back up this view are the following:

  1. Two minds think better than one.
  2. The partners can have complementary skills (i.e., one can be a good programmer, and the other one a good marketer)
  3. The partners can cover for each other in the face of emergencies or periods where one of them will not be able to work for some reason.
  4. When the company has no employees, two people will be able to do more work than one person alone.

It makes sense, and you also have plenty of empirical evidence to support this. Many web startups, in fact, were founded by two or more people: Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, Skype and so on.

Creating a successful company alone is also possible, though, and it might have some advantages:

  1. You are in control of everything and know all the angles of your business
  2. There is no need to reach an agreement with another person for important business decisions.
  3. There is no risk of disputes arising between the founders
  4. The founder usually commits 110% to the venture, because he owns it (i.e. it is his baby)

Examples of companies that had a single founder? Amazon.com, Oracle, Craigslist and LinkedIn.

Notice that the question we are asking is NOT whether you can create a successful company alone. The examples above clearly answer that. The question is: Does having a business partner improve your chances of success?

Have your say in our poll. You are also welcome to leave a comment below expanding on your personal opinion. The poll closes on Friday, and I will post the results next Monday.


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35 Responses to “Poll: Does Having a Business Partner Improve Your Chances of Success?”

  • replica breitling

    More and more people are becoming serial business partners. Collaborating on small or medium sized projects in addition to their main business, or expanding their normal business with a new collaborative venture.

  • Rob

    I started my own business in Feb of 09. Things have been going well but even better since I hired a sales manager. He has started telling people that we are partners and it bothers me. If I was to have a partner it would be him. I have been screwed before and cant allow this to happen again. I hired him to be a sales manager and he is paid very well I want to leave well enough alone. He has now wanted to partner up and like what I have. If he left business would be just fine I just dont want the past to repeat itself. Any advise would be helpfull.

  • Medyum

    I didn’t really take off with any of my little ventures until I found someone to connect with. We’ve never actually met, but we’ve been “partners” for a few years now. I’m sure I owe a ton of what success I’ve had so far to her. Being able to brainstorm together and keep each other accountable is a huge asset to having a partner.

  • kumo

    It depends. If you have a good business partner that can help up and support in any way around, definitely will get you close to success. If you get a business partner that keeps on holding you back and dragging you down, you won’t be going any where. The thing is, if you’re able to handle everything and hard working, then you should be fine without a partner. Sometimes we just need some luck to reach success.

  • Boerne Search

    Tryed the solo act for a bit and it worked well. Just meet a like minded person with some fresh ideas and some of the same views. So i voted yes on the partner. It’s true sometimes 2 heads think better then 1. And she is good at data entry while I program everything. It works great.

    Kane in favor of TEAM WORK!

  • Greg

    It depends on the type of people involved. Personally I like to delegate some work but at the same time I want to be in charge of everything. I give someone something to do but I tell them how to do it. It usually just works better if I do it myself.

  • Ina

    To answer your question, maybe not. But having someone to un-square you from time to time might make you business more adaptable and easier to be understood and used by multiple types of users. (Can’t help thinking that maybe LinkedIn would be less formal, more interactive and generally designed more for humans and not for their careers, but then again that’s just me:)

  • Crazy Oldie

    I have a business mentor ATM and its seemed to help. Its as close to a ‘partner’ as I”m willing to accept since I prefer to fly solo.

    Having a partner can hinder you from attaining your OWN goals when two minds are collaborating.

  • Michelle Minch, Moving Mountains Design

    I own one business alone and am in the process of starting another with a partner. I love collaborating with my partner, who, BTW, lives on the opposite coast. The new business deals with e-commerce, so we don’t have to be in the same room or even the same state to make it work. I have only met her in person once but we have known each other online and over the phone for more than 2 years. We are of similar temperament and share a similar work ethic but each of us excels at different skills. So far we have gotten along really well. Communication is key, as is mutual respect, communication and more communication.

    We don’t leave anything to chance. For the time being anyway, one of us writes a memo via email to the other whenever we have made an important decision or to delineate the division of labor. That way we always have a email to refer to if there is any question, either individually or as partners.

    I LOVE working with my partner. She’s an excellent business woman and very energetic. We pump each other up when energy is low. She asks questions I haven’t thought of and vice versa. Its great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and get opinions from someone who is equally invested. Also, when you have someone to share the burden, it doesn’t seem as heavy or daunting.

  • Another Way To Earn Money

    Of course it is, but I like to work alone……..

  • excITingIP.com

    I too think it depends – Since you have taken the case of internet start ups, I think initially it is not required for a partner. But as you expand, perhaps it could be helpful. But the partners ought to have complementary skill sets. If they are similar, they could end up arguing for small things.


  • Melvin

    the short answer is yes simply because you are not going to pick a business partner that you don’t really trust… I dont have a business partner (yet) but I think having one really improves your chances

  • @SarahMerion

    More and more people are becoming serial business partners. Collaborating on small or medium sized projects in addition to their main business, or expanding their normal business with a new collaborative venture. I’m not sure that having one solid business partner is necessary if you can always be collaborating with other entrepreneurs and businesses.

  • mark harrison

    I have floundered for 5 months on my own. I now have a partner and he shares the load, both physically and mentally and he also allows me to relax in my downtime because I know he has got my (and the business) back. Great peace of mind…

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Glen, I don’t think I would be able to have a partner. I am a very individualistic person. Secondly, if I had a partner I guess I would always be worried if he would be working as hard as I do.

  • paul barton

    ok – i have several rules that I go by in business.
    1. don’t go into business with someone who is not married to you or linked by family. Without those links its way too easy to fall when things get tough.
    2. if i partner with someone (and i have several business partners) we start out by creating 2 separate but linked business organisations. We then create a plan and work the plan – if we don’t get the results we are looking for or expect we reflect on why and adjust. We have to develop a relational accountability based on the ability to have safe conversations where we don’t attack each other.
    3. I always try to make people smile.

  • watches

    this is always hard to say definately.but commonly saying ,if we want to do sth very hard and sth that is like a big project,of course partners always help a lot!

  • blogger-jogja

    but, dont forget, we must have the competitor to more grow up our skills

  • scorpio

    I would say YES!

    Two heads are better than one is the most appropriate answer. Your point of view is different from his/her. That will give significant impact in decision making.

    Go Business!!!

  • Leonine

    Having a business partner only works well if that partner is equally as motived as you, prepared to put in the same level of effort, and is a business minded person rather than an “employee minded” person. Choose your business partner carefully – or you might end up feeling you’ve somehow taken on a casual employee who’s entitled to half the profits!

  • InternetHowBlog

    Although I voted ye. My real answer would be both. It can be good to have business partner as two minds are better than one. However, there is a potential for conflicts as well.

  • Glen Allsopp

    I think in an equal number of cases, the answer would be no. Right now in my life I really couldn’t have a partner per say because I feel like I would have to “manage them” as well to my own thinking.

    What are your thoughts Daniel? I’m not sure you would want an equal partner anyway.

  • Marie

    Hi Daniel,

    I chuckled with current poll results 50/50. Agree with the above comment about engagement. Past experience leads me to prefer limited partnerships, each having defined scope of authority, combining expertise for specific project. Still can lead to power struggles but tiffs more easily shrugged off.

    Look forward to your result post!


  • Igor

    Work alone, be responsible for your work and nobody will ever tell you what you have to do. If you have a partner in your job, there will always be someone who will feel like boss and would try to order. You can work with other people but only on some projects. Believe only in yourself because you are the only person who knows the value of your work. My 2 cents.

  • Cassie

    I didn’t really take off with any of my little ventures until I found someone to connect with. We’ve never actually met, but we’ve been “partners” for a few years now. I’m sure I owe a ton of what success I’ve had so far to her. Being able to brainstorm together and keep each other accountable is a huge asset to having a partner.

  • Himanshu

    Your choice is very important. Match of the talent is one of the most difficult task in this case.

    There will always be some moments you’ll think you’ve had done better job. And if the frequency of such moments increase then you’ll realize that you were better off alone.

    And if your Business Partner is taking some of your credit too then it doesn’t make any sense at all.

  • Jason aka Beltwayboy

    A very good question, thought provoking.

  • Writer Dad

    I don’t use a partner for all my online ventures, but I do for my favorite ones, and they are not only more likely to succeed, the collaboration makes them more engaging to work with.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Ian, thanks for sharing it.

    I tend to be reluctant when it comes to getting a partner, but I will expand on this next week when I will publish the results of the poll.

  • Ian Fernando

    depends – I found it being successful thus far. your partner has to be on teh same mindset and understand what you are are trying to accomplish with little talk.

    also conflicts of ideas do happen but that has to be talked out and make sure that there is a negative and positive side to it, then weigh it out.

    but having a partner definitely gives you the ability to expand with little cost, because we are leveraging each other. but i found myself always in success with my partners.

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