Partners, investors, employees...oh my!

storybookstudiostorybookstudio subscriber Posts: 7
Ok, I`m feeling a little bit like Dorothy these days, forging ahead into the uknown in search of the great Oz! I`ve come so far and I don`t want to turn back now, but I need advice on which path to take next.
First, let me give you a little background on my business and everything I`ve done so far to get it going. I have developed a craft-related kit for children, and have sourced the manufacturing overseas. I have designed everything from the packaging and instructions to the actual stickers in the kit, and have been working on this project for well over a year now. I finally have a prototype and I am anxious to start my first production run and start selling my product.  I have no doubts about the product and believe that I will be able to successfully sell it.
I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the laundry list of tasks that this business demands. It`s hard tackle everything from product/packaging design to the website, taxes, books, marketing, sales - I know I would benefit from having a partner to help me. I have a very good friend, who I know and trust like a sister. We`ve always talked about becoming partners, but for one reason or another (she was getting married, while I was having babies, ect.) it hasn`t seemed like a good time, until now.
We `ve also worked together in the past, so I know she has a strong work ethic, and her skill-set compliments mine. She has also offered to invest in the business. Everything seems like a perfect fit, except...I don`t know how I would structure a partnership like this. I have worked so hard and have invested alot more than money into this business. How do I put a $ amount on that? Do I figure her percentage of the business, based on her initial investment vs mine? Should I accept her offer to invest in the business, leave it at that - and just hire her as employee ?
I would love to get some feedback on this subject. Any thoughts/advice would be extremely helpful.

Comments

  • storybookstudiostorybookstudio subscriber Posts: 7
    Thank you both for the sound advice. You are right Janie, it is a difficult decision! I asked myself this question:
    Would I still want her to be a partner if she wasn`t willing/able to contribute funds towards this startup? Yes, I absolutely would. But not a 50/50 partnership. I don`t see anything wrong with putting a value to the blood, sweat and tears - even if she was truly family. I can`t sell myself short since I have done so much work and have invested financially as well. She understands this going in.
    We still have alot to discuss before anything is decided. To be honest, I`m not thinking about the money aspect much at all. I don`t mind splitting profits - after all, we are sharing the risk. I`m focused more on the other benefits of having a partner - just being able to bounce ideas of one another is huge to me. It`s difficult be inspired everyday. I guess what I`m getting at is, for me, it`s lonely being a solo entrepreneur sometimes! Having someone to share the ups and downs with, as well as going to meetings with buyers, tradeshows, networking events, ect. would be great. Sure, I could hire any employee to do these things, but I doubt they would be as motivated as I am. Maybe I`m wrong about that?
     storybookstudio2007-4-30 11:14:42
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