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Wednesday: Global Entrepeneurship Week....should you fly Solo or Tandem?

by Claire Martinsen on Wed 14th Nov 2012 02:29

When you start up a business you can set up on your own, or go into partnership with one or more others.  It’s a decision that I guess is very personal as well as being dependent on the circumstances that you find yourself in.

I’ve flown solo since the start – albeit with an amazing team of  staff, family and friends around me.  Mr Breckland is a wonderful support [as well as chief IT guru, and chief Book-keeping guru], but the day-to-day running of Breckland Orchard is down to me.  The strategic direction we follow is down to me, as are the risks we take.

I’ve never had a business partner, so I don’t know what that would be like.  Similarly I had no idea whether Breckland Orchard would have followed the same course had there been two of us at the helm. As shared before on this blog I work at a demonic pace, so I like to think that I output more than one person in terms of work rate!

You hear sad tales along the way about friends who have started businesses together and then gone their separate ways acrimoniously.  Likewise where marriages have come under strain due to starting a business together.  It’s tales like this that make me happy that I set up Breckland Orchard without a business partner.
Here’s my run down of what the pro’s and con’s of running a microbusiness by yourself:


  • Decision Making
    Decision making is quick and easy.  I don’t have anyone else to persuade except for myself.  And that makes for an easy life. It saves time and ultimately makes me a lot more productive
  • Simple comm’s and clear line of control
    I only need to communicate with staff, suppliers and customers.  I don’t need to worry about trying to work out if we are doubling up on effort, nor worry about my business partner not pulling their weight.
  • Known risk
    Setting up your own business is risky, and don’t let anyone tell you different.  I’m happy to accept risk, and to manage it within my own known parameters.  I know that it would be difficult if I was having to co-manage someone else’s risk parameters and financial situation. Often these things are intangible.
  • Personal Working Style
    I’m a very action-orientated person………I love to weigh things up in my mind, but once I make a decision I am quick to action.  Working with two of me could be risky, working with me and someone else much more considered could be frustrating!
  • Freedom
    I have complete freedom to change direction, to grow, to finance, to aquire, to exit [heaven forbid] whenever and however I like.  The long term future of the business is not dependent on two of us wanting to do things at the same time.  That freedom is  something bigger than just day-to-day decision making and ultimately it’s probably the most exciting things about being an entrepreneur – I wouldn’t want to share that with anyone for all the tea in china.



  • Capital
    Having a partner could have brought more capital to the table, and that would have been great. Extra capital can help share the risk.
  • More hands on deck
    Two of more of us at the start could have achieved much more than one person working alone.  Particularly when starting up that doubling of  effort is invaluable.
  • Sharing the highs and lows
    Small business is all about massive highs and massive lows.  Having a business partner would give someone to share those highs and lows with.
  • Shared decision making and responsibility
    I love taking decisions and standing by those, but know that its not for everyone.  Having a sounding board working alone side could lead to better decisions – to bring insights that you might not have thought of by yourself.
  • Complimentary skill sets
    Having a business partner with complimentary experience or  skills sets would have been great.  I’ve very much learned all I have about manufacture and logistics since I started up.  Having a business partner with those skills might have helped.

I’m convinced there’s no one solution and that it ultimately depends on personal choice and what makes you happy.  For me that’s about having set up by myself, with my great and wonderful team around me.

You should do whatever works best for you, and ultimately that will be the best for your business too.


Posted in: Business Advice Starting out


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