Solo Entrepreneur vs. Partnership


A business needs to be drived by at least three different and somehow conflicting roles. This resembles but not the same as the “seperation of powers” in governance of a state.

  • Business perspective: This quality resides in people who can think strategically, who inspires people through her/his vision. Although it requires a general tendency to think differently and creatively this skill can be learned through experience. Innovation, marketing efforts and business development are perpetual in this perspective.
  • Production/Technological perspective: This perspective is generally reinforced by people who have strong analytical skills such as engineers. If the business shall succeed, the services/products offered by the business should have excellent qualities.
  • Administration perspective: This perspective is generally reinforced by people who tries to systematize processes in the organization. This role is needed for instutionalization stage of the organization.

Although a person can have a combination of those perspectives, she/he has only one or at most two dominant mindsets.

Considering the above facts, which one is preferrable? To be a solo entrepreneur or to form a partnership?

I favor and recommend partnership. But to form a long lasting and sustainable partnership you have to find someone who acquires (at least) all of the following three qualities :

  • whom you can trust;
  • who complements you; It is better to have a partnership who bring different perspectives, who can think different than you.
  • whom you can have an open dialog; Trying to understand you by listening without prejudice, bias and without hidden agendas, but at the same time contributing with her/his own thoughts rationally. This is neccessary to arrive at conclusions through a dialectic method.

My business life intersected with my current partner in 2002, and I am lucky to form a partnership with him, who is respectable, honest, dependable, ethic, reliable, who shows empathy towards not only me but also towards all of our stakeholders, who is consistent in his thoughts, is open to new ideas and innovation, who brings vision to business and who shares the same dream and purpose with me, I strongly favor partnership over being a solo entrepreneur.

Here are the views of two influencial authors and one great theory which support my point of view:

  • Napoleon Hill, in his great book “Think and Grow Rich”, who observed and interviewed extremely successful people (such as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Andrew Carneige), introduced the “Mastermind” concept, which is defined by him as: “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose”. He asserts that the extremely successful people all credited their success to the creative energy generated by the team spirit of their management groups.
  • Darel Rutherford in his book “Being the Solution” reinforced Napoleon’s views with the “Powerpact” idea which is defined as: “a separate entitly, a powerful force, called into being when two or more minds combine forces for a common purpose and mutual support“.
  • Ichak Adizes, in the PAEI theory, suggests that different phases (start-up, early stage, development, growth or death) require different management styles. Since a single person can not exhibit different management styles, this theory implies that “a team of partners” is better than “a solo entrepreneur”.

Moral of the article: As a matter of fact, I strongly believe (and experience) that the success is created by good teams and partnerships not by a super solo entrepreneur which is often mislead by the press intentionally. The press loves super heros because it creates more attention from the public but it is not real. It is an exception if not a myth.

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About ozgurzan

Professional: 1999- Co-founder and Managing Director of Done Information & Comm. Systems http://www.donetr.com http://www.donelabs.com Academic: 2008 Ph.D. Organization and Management - Yeditepe University 2002 MBA - Yeditepe University 1994 Computer Engineering - Bogazici University
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