As marketing professionals we always seem to find ourselves in positions where we are being “pitched” on some big idea, that someone had, and that someone wants our feedback and possibly help on. It seems we have a never ending business opportunity at our front door. As an SEO, owner of an Internet marketing firm, with several established online businesses, I have a problem with this sometimes.
Here is the scenario:
You are meeting with a person who has a great idea, and is looking for someone who can provide the SEO/online marketing services they are looking for. You get to talking about what it will take to accomplish their goals, tell them they have a great idea, and before getting into what it will cost they turn the conversation (really quick) to you partnering with them because you think it’s “such a great idea”.
Plain and simple – That’s not what I do. I have already started my businesses, paid my dues, and have been through this whole start-up game before. I have a business model that works and makes money and am not really interested in partnering up and taking a percentage away from you.
I understand why people do this when they first start out. They have no money, no real expertise, but they know they have an idea with potential. My best piece of advice: HAVE FAITH IN YOUR IDEA . If your idea is good enough, you will find someone (or someway) to fund the project. All of my businesses I have created with my own money, built from scratch, and have never taken any venture capital for ANY of my companies. I knew I had good ideas, and I did everything I could to make them happen. I sacrificed a lot. I worked long hours (I can remember many 90 hour work weeks) and did what I could to make extra money to fund my projects. I went out and MADE IT HAPPEN.
I may not have been able to do everything I wanted to in “Phase 1” of all my business plans, but I was able to get things going and had a foundation to build on. As time goes on, you will continue to grow and be able to expand more of your ideas. When you get bigger and have more money to invest in your business, you will be glad that you did not bring on a ton of partners and investors because you will be the one seeing more of the money at the end of the month!
Don’t miss the point:
I am not saying I will never take on a new partnership or hear out a good idea. I just want to be paid for the marketing services I provide, help you make money so you end up making more in the long run, and NOT have you pay me a huge percentage because I am a “partner”.
The lesson I hope you learn:
I want to teach anyone new to business (online and off) a little lesson that I learned years ago, which I am hoping will help save you many headaches down the road. If you figure out a way to make this venture happen on your own without having to bring on tons of partners, you will have less money to split revenue with and it will be your business that YOU control. You will also have more control over what is getting done, and what is not getting done. If you KNOW your idea is such an amazing idea, then again have faith in it. Figure out a way that YOU can run with it and do everything you can to make it happen without having to rely on other people.
I remember one of my first ideas that I had like (no kidding) 7 other “partners” involved in was a complete disaster, but one that had such amazing potential. In fact, one of our competitors ended up selling their website for 3.4 million when we ended up just having to eat it and take a loss down the road. (And our database was bigger than theirs at one point!) There were just too many people trying to call the shots, rather than one person managing progress and others taking directions. Not everyone was willing to contribute the same amount. I could go on and on…
Next time you have the opportunity to “partner” with someone, give it some thought and make sure it’s in the best interest of what you want to accomplish with your business long term.
The other point I wanted to make with all this is if you are an individual with some amazing web skills (whether it be web design, development, programming, SEO, Internet marketing, or whatever), you should really think hard about the people wanting to “partner” with you. Take it from my experience, you will end up making a ton more money just providing the services that you are good at. Your skills are what pays the bills, and if people want you bad enough, they will pay. Just remember the saying that too many chefs in the kitchen spoil the soup, and that couldn’t be more true here!