Do I need A Partner or a Team? Do I Keep The Company's Money?


1

I am a female programmer/software developer and basically a 'techpreneur'. I just finished work on a web app to provide advertising and marketing campaigns for companies. I coded everything from scratch and have invested money into building it. That is for the domain name and VPS Server.

Right now, I am ready to launch the business. I have read a lot of entrepreneurial books and articles and I am very good at giving business advice to my friends. However, I am confused right now as to whether I need a partner or just a team of 3 (me inclusive) to help with the marketing aspect which I will also help with since I have quite some knowledge in that field too. Or I just need to tell my friends about the business and get people to connect me. But the truth is, I like taking decisions with people and feel that is the reason I need a partner. I do not want to confuse emotional feelings with business.

I am being careful because I am a lady and I do not want the company to slip out of my hands. I want full control of the business even though I am ready to give out some shares of the company out to those who will support me.

I want to know if I need to get a partner to help me make decisions and the qualifications I should look out for.( and I just want to throw this in that, I am in my final year in college). So should I get a college friend to help me out? or should I dive into the real world and get a marketer, taking into the consideration not being played in a wrong way.

Getting Started Partnerships

asked Feb 27 '13 at 10:23
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Rasheeda
65 points
  • What's being a lady has got to do with anything? Why do you think you need help to begin with? – Littleadv 7 years ago
  • Edited to remove multiple questions in one post. – Jesper Mortensen 7 years ago

3 Answers


3

Erm... being a lady has nothing to do with it. If you begin your business believing that you are less or deficient entirely because of your gender, you will lose. There people who take advantage of the naive/uninformed/weak and you're describing yourself that way already.

You might be uninformed or deficient.. but just about everyone is somewhere, regardless of gender, background, skills, etc.

Most people don't need a partner, especially starting off. Yes, there is a lot of stuff to do, but since you have few/no customers, the support, sales, management, etc efforts are much smaller.

That said, some people should have a partner to complement the skills they're missing. For example, I know the technical side and some of the marketing, but sales is my (biggest) weak spot. If I want a project to be successful, should get someone to help there.

On the bank account side, never open an account with someone you don't trust completely. Quite often it's easy for one person to spend/take a large sum (or all) of the money out with few controls. That is good in many cases where you need to buy high value equipment, services, etc.. but it is risky.

Regardless, you will want to have a separate bank account. I don't know what country you're in but a good rule is to keep finances as separate as possible.

answered Feb 27 '13 at 11:22
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Casey Software
1,638 points
  • thank you, point well noted – Rasheeda 7 years ago

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Developing software is the easy part. Creating a business where specific customer segments are willing to pay for a solution which results in a cash flow positive effort is the real challenge here.

Given that the goal is profitability (which is my assumption) I believe you have some misconceptions about what marketing is.

..help with the marketing aspect which I will also help with since I have quite some knowledge in that field too. Or I just need to tell my friends about the business and get people to connect me.

Marketing isn't a software feature... its an ongoing effort that requires constant monitoring complete with trial and error experiments. In fact, marketing isn't important at this juncture if market validation / customer development hasn't been done and the value proposition to the customer and their willingness to pay isn't known. In short, a whole lot more effort than just telling your friends about it.

If you read some of the books on Lean startups (vs articles), most would point out that customer development should be done by a senior member (you) to validate market / product fit, come up with a minimal marketable product and launch / modify / pivot as you get real feedback.

Many would say that marketing prior to validating market fit is a wasted effort. I would think that hiring 2 marketing heads in a pre-launch startup would be premature. But where you are in customer development and what you consider marketing efforts may be different that my interpretation.

answered Feb 27 '13 at 16:08
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Jim Galley
9,952 points
  • thank you, much appreciated – Rasheeda 7 years ago

0

Control is good.

If you'll get partners, what will they invest? Compare their possible investment to yours. Make it into what comprises 100%. Unless the investment is equal to your thoughts of how much your software is worth, they'll unlikely get anywhere near 30% anyway.

Then draft your contract/agreement for what they hold in the company.

At this point when you're suddenly getting technical, you might scare away possible partners.

However, don't let it bother you. A lot of people get burned for "trying" to come up with contracts after the fact.

But to answer your question, at this time, get yourself a team to work under you.

Partners and shares... these will cloud your early days. This is all just my opinion so I'd like to say that if you want control, get control. Lead a team under you. No shares, even if you might need the money for investments. At least for as long as you can. The reason for this is because--

When you hit it big, you may want advice from people you trust, 

but you won't want them eager to grab a piece of the cash-out pie.
Many people act differently when it comes to money matters.
So keep your head above water, swim with a team, not with partners who have ropes tied to your waist -- the last thing you want is a partner who'd rather drown and take you with him/her.
answered Mar 2 '13 at 14:08
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Yasker Yasker
47 points
  • thank you very much. – Rasheeda 7 years ago

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