You’ve finally taken the plunge and decided to start your own catering business. Congratulations! This is a big accomplishment and a very exciting time. But as you start to think about all the logistics involved in making your business a reality, you may be wondering if you should find a partner to help you out. Here are some things to consider as you make your decision.
The Pros of Having a Partner
There are several benefits to having a partner in your catering business, including:
- A partner can provide financial support.
- A partner can help with the day-to-day operations of the business.
- A partner can act as a sounding board for ideas.
- A partnership can give you access to new markets and customer groups.
- A partnership can make it easier to get financing from banks or investors.
Let’s review a few of these:
Sharing the Workload: When you have a partner, you can divide up the work associated with running your business. This can be helpful when it comes to things like bookkeeping, marketing, and event planning.
Brainstorming: It can be helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off of as you’re planning your business. A partner can give you valuable feedback and help you come up with new ideas.
Sharing the Costs: Start-up costs can be high when starting a catering business. Having a partner can help lighten the load financially.
The Cons of Having a Partner
Of course, there are also some drawbacks to having a partner, which include:
- A partnership can be costly and time-consuming to set up.
- A partnership can create tension and conflict if not managed properly.
- You may have different visions for the business, which can lead to disagreements down the road.
- You may not be able to agree on major decisions, such as how to spend money or who should be in charge of what tasks.
- You may have difficulty extricating yourself from the partnership if things go sour.
Let’s review a few of these:
Disagreements: It’s possible that you and your partner will not always see eye-to-eye on how to run the business. This can lead to arguments and disagreements that can be difficult to resolve.
Loss of Control: When you have a partner, you’ll have to share control over the business. This can be difficult for some people who prefer to have sole control over their businesses.
Splitting Profits: Obviously, if you have a partner, you’ll have to split any profits evenly between the two of you. For some people, this may not be worth it if they feel like they could make more money in catering on their own.
Going into business with a partner can be a great way to mitigate risk, bring in fresh perspectives, and split up the workload. But it’s not a decision to be made lightly. Before you take the plunge, ask yourself these four questions.
Do you complement each other’s skills?
One of the main reasons to go into business with a partner is to benefit from their complementary skills. Maybe you’re an amazing cook but lack business acumen. Or maybe you’re incredible at marketing but not so great in the kitchen. Whatever your strengths and weaknesses may be, make sure your partner’s strengths fill in the gaps.
Can you trust each other?
Any business relationship is built on trust—but it’s especially important when you’re going into business with someone. After all, you’ll be entrusting them with your livelihood (and vice versa). Do your due diligence to make sure they’re honest and transparent. And once you’re in business together, maintain open communication and always keep each other in the loop.
Do you share the same vision?
One of the quickest ways to kill a business partnership is disagreements over vision. Before going into business together, make sure you’re on the same page about the long-term goals for the catering company. Where do you see it going? What kind of clients do you want to attract? etc. By being clear about the vision from the outset, you can avoid major disagreements down the road.
Can you handle conflict well?
Even with the best intentions, conflict is inevitable in any business partnership. The important thing is how you handle it when it does arise. Do you let emotions get in the way? Are you able to have difficult conversations without getting defensive? Can you see things from your partner’s perspective? If not, beware—conflict resolution skills are crucial for any successful partnership.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether or not you should find a partner for your new catering business—it all depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. If you do decide to go this route, just be sure to do your research and choose someone who you think would make a good complementary teammate.
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