I received a great question from one of my Twitter friends @Elisa9180. She asked:
I was wondering if you could give me your opinion on starting a private practice with a partner vs. going it alone!
That’s too big a question to answer on Twitter, so it gets its own blog post! There are certainly pros and cons to both options. Let’s consider some…
Disclaimer: This is NOT getting into the pros and cons as they related to different business structures (e.g. sole proprietorships, LLCs, etc.) That’s a different conversation for another time…
The Solo Private Practice
- You have complete control over all aspects of your practice: your mission, your vision, the services you provide, marketing, how the business is structured, etc. Although this is only one point, it is a major one.
- All the business profits are yours.
- You have complete control over all aspects of your practice…which means you alone are in charge of all the work, seed money, and “hats” of the practice (e.g. marketing, bookkeeping, invoicing, etc.)
- You only get paid when you work. Unless you budget accordingly—which is smart business practice anyway—it can make vacations and holidays harder to manage.
- All the liabilities of starting and managing a business are yours.
Private Practice Partners
- The workload is shared. So is the seed money.
- The liability of starting and running a business is shared.
- If you pick the right partner, you can split the tasks of running a business (e.g. marketing, bookkeeping, scheduling, etc.) so that you each are involved in tasks that match your strengths.
- If you don’t pick the right partner, the relationship can be ruined—or severely stressed—if the business falls apart.
- Running a business gets a little more complex as there is more than one decision maker involved. More meetings, more joint decisions, etc.
- The profits are shared.
Putting It Together
So what is my opinion on going it alone versus having a business partner? The short answer is “it depends” as there are several variables for you to consider. If you decide to go the partner route, I think two of the biggest considerations and biggest things to get right are:
- Find the right partner. You need to find someone who shares the same vision and professional values as you do. Someone whose skill sets and strengths complement yours. Someone who will truly be a partner and will share the workload equally and equitably.
- Maintain open and transparent communication. A partnership is a relationship built on trust. You need to be honest, open, and transparent with each other. This might include working out a system for communicating on a regular basis, whether through text, FB, regular meetings, emails, etc.
Entering into a business relationship like this is like entering into a marriage. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. But like any good relationship that works, it can be one of the best decisions you ever make.