Discover the tips and insights on how and where to find the right partner when starting a watersport business.
Hey everyone, thanks for dropping in for this week’s episode of the Weekly Wave presented by WaveRez. I’m your host Greg Fisher, and today we’ll be talking about how to find the right partner to start your watersport business. I’m a huge believer in partnerships because they can grow your business much faster than doing it on your own. Every business I have started included at least one partner. Everyone that was involved brought something to the table such as experience, financial resources, or a specific trade or skill set. Not every partnership was successful, but that should never be a reason why you shouldn’t pursue one. Let’s talk a little more about when you might look for a partner versus when you should not.
A few questions you should ask yourself before looking for a partner are 1) Will I be doing this full time? 2) Will my revenue support a partnership? 3) Do I have the required skill set to even be in business? A lot of times partnerships fail because they were simply not planned well. Planning doesn’t have to be comprehensive, but it needs to just make sense. Most entrepreneurs understand profit doesn’t come fast, but when it does, will it be enough to allow the partners to make a living wage? This is why some smaller operations are best to stay solo because there is not enough financial growth for the partners unless there is expansion, but not every location has this capability.
I highly recommend putting together a small business plan to understand the responsibilities and skill sets required to run the business properly. You might need a captain to run one of your tour boats, or a mechanic to keep your rentals running. These are highly paid individuals, who might be eager to do the same work at a lower cost if they were a partner rather than an employee. Also find it’s easier to secure financing or insurance with key members of your ownership team that have experience. For example, due to the litigious nature of this industry, there are insurance companies that will not write policies if one of the owners doesn’t have several years of experience in watersports.
If you want to start a partnership, but you’re not sure where to find the right people, then you’ll need to look around. A great place to start is contacting a trade association to put you in touch with people that might be interested in working with you. The Watersport Industry Association is one example of where you could start, but I personally would recommend joining Facebook groups with similar interests. Create a post of what you are looking for, and make connections with people who would be a match. Don’t rush this process, and do some due diligence on each individual to make sure they are not bringing baggage to the business that could hurt your chances at receiving financing and insurance.
So what happens if a partnership doesn’t work? First of all, it’s important to have an exit plan for your partnership. It’s not the easiest conversation to have, but it will save a lot of time and money if you have to go to court to settle a dispute. If you don’t have an exit plan, then start simply by having a conversation with your partners about the future of the business. If the vision is not shared by the partners, and there's no compromise, then see if anyone is willing to sell their shares. Sometimes having these high level talks can give some perspective to your partners, so try to have these meetings if you can. As a quick disclaimer, I’m not an attorney, I’m speaking only from my own experience. If you have a situation that involves a dispute, please contact an attorney for assistance.
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