Before Albert and I got married, he gave me the option of continue working at our family business or be full-time home manager/ housewife. I decided on the latter, since we intended on having kids ASAP and the drive from our home to the office was way excruciating (an hour going there and an hour and a half coming home at best).
After I gave birth to Mati, I missed working. I wasn’t ready to give up being a full-time mom, but I felt I could do more and had some ideas I wanted to pursue. Albert encouraged me to explore my options, but always emphasized that our home and our children would still need to be my first priority.
It was great timing, because a good couple friend of ours, Morris and Sheena also wanted to start a new venture. All of us have our own existing businesses, but we felt that as a team, we could work together to build a profitable enterprise.
The New Business
For our business with our friends, we chose to develop an end-user baby brand called Bonjour Baby, targeting the safety and health niche. Instead of our usual What’s interesting is that this was in a completely different field compared to what Albert and I were used to.
In our family business, we did wholesale trading of hardware goods to various retail stores around the country. Think, pako (nails), yero (galvanized aluminum), shovels, nuts, screws and bolts. Albert’s business is also similar. He sells wall and floor tiles in bulk, distributing to mostly tile shops in the provinces and to big projects (new condominiums, hotels, etc).
Bonjour Baby has been so rewarding and challenging at the same time. There’s much more creativity, product development, market research involved. In the hardware and construction industry, the list of items required are pretty straightforward, and price is usually the biggest concern.
It’s been only two years in, but we’ve tremendously enjoyed working on our shared business with our partners. Among the many advantages of having a business partner, the ones that stand out the most are:
1. A Partner with Complementary Skills
Going back to my previous post on my top mompreneur mistakes, I talked about the benefits of delegating and outsourcing tasks that I don’t have the time or satisfactory skill level to do.
An alternative way to scale your business quickly is finding a business partner who has a complementary skill set to yours. For Bonjour Baby, Sheena is in charge of creating content for our social media platforms. She’s an excellent graphic design artist and an illustrator, so she takes photos, designs all our collaterals, and makes sure that our branding is cohesive. You’ll find our Facebook and Instagram feed to have clear messaging and crisp photos, and a great overall look. I trust her completely in this aspect, as I’ve never used Photoshop in my life.
2. A Partner Provides Different Perspectives
Some people prefer to work solo instead of embarking on partnerships because they’re used to working alone. I think going solo is also a great option too, it makes for a quicker and leaner operation. However, another benefit of having a business partner is getting different perspectives and insights.
I’ve experienced this in my own business (no partners), that when I ask for opinions from friends or trusted advisors. As much as they want to help, the only information they have is the information I give them. My information can be biased towards my opinions and preferences. It’s different having another pair of boots on the ground who knows what you’re talking about. No need to repeat everything from the beginning each time you start a discussion or ask for an opinion.
Of course, having more people in the decision-making process can often delay action-taking.
I honestly don’t mind the delays in decision-making if it means we come up with better solutions. There have been so many times where I thought I had a great idea, only for my partners to come up with something better. Ego is not an issue, as we are all working towards a common goal.
Everyone has their own set of experiences, valuable inputs, and fresh perspectives. Getting challenged on your ideas is also priceless. Technology allows us to be Viber or Whatsapp message away, it doesn’t take long to come to a joint consensus.
3. More Resources, Shared Risk between Partners
When you choose the right partner, you benefit not only from their ideas and talents, but also to whatever available resources they have at hand. You can use each other’s existing offices or warehouses (or even extra closet space at home!) to reduce operational expenses. This is advantageous because small businesses should avoid high fixed costs.
Of course, this comes already with the presupposition that each partner does not have the calculator or mabilang (counts everything) mindset. Check the next post for qualities of a great business partner.
Financially, having a partner also lightens the capital load on each person’s part. You share the risk and rewards of running the business together.
Mom Bonus: Back-Up!
As a mom, this is especially important for me. It’s an unwritten rule between my partners and I that family comes first. Life happens, and there have been occasions when my son suddenly threw up or had a high temperature. I can miss meetings and my partners would understand.
It’s great to have friends who have your back and hold down the fort while you attend to your family. There’s a peaceful sense of assurance to have teammates who are there and can be counted on. Since we are both moms, we “get” each other. No one second guesses the productivity or trustworthiness of the other. With a business partner, you failing or succeeding together. By God’s grace, so far we’re blessed and humbled to fall on the latter.
How about you? Would you prefer going solo or joining forces with a partner?