What do LeBron James and Kevin Durant have in common? Yes, they are two of the greatest NBA players to play the game. But they both realized that in order to earn a championship ring, they needed help. Both players joined new teams in order to accomplish this feat. As fate would have it, both did so.
Since I can remember, sports were a passion of mine. I obviously didn’t go pro, but I still enjoyed playing from time to time. During the summer, I started a softball team with friends and joined a league. One of my friends that I asked to join was a coworker at my day job, Kelly. She was a former UW softball player and now the Sales Manager at the office. Her fiancé at the time, Mike, was also on our team. He had experience starting businesses and working on start-ups. After talking to him and getting to know each other more, we all agreed, it would be beneficial for us if he joined the team.
He had a degree in finance and learned how to code from other freelance jobs. He was the kind of guy that was organized and detail oriented. It was exactly what we were missing. The way the roles were established were that I would act as CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Mike would act as COO (Chief Operations Officer), and Cam would be the CIO (Chief Innovation Officer). I was very confident in this team and really thought it would be perfect. We had our own big three.
Right off the bat, Mike was a huge help. He was able to develop a logo for us and later programmed our site. He insisted on having important meetings about equity, planning, money, everything. My brother and I kept dreaming of all the possibilities that we could do with Igloo Rolls, while Mike would bring us back down to Earth. It was a great balance!
One of the most difficult things when starting a business is deciding if you need a partner or not. Many factors are at play when making the decision. For this post, I will be talking about when you do need a partner.
After deciding that you do need a partner, the next tough decision is what to look for in one. If you want to be successful, I recommend not picking your best friend unless they have skills that you don’t. Finding a real partner is like dating. You want to find the right match, because you may be with that person for a very long time. You need someone who you can trust and communicate with, but also can complement the skills you have. For example, I brought the entrepreneurial mindset and some marketing knowledge; Cam brought the creativity and passion for food; Mike brought a financial background, experience, and a strategic thinking mind. For the most part, all the gaps were filled.
Once you find the partner, the next part can be difficult and a little awkward. When establishing equity, most people want to put in $0 and get 100% and not work much at all, but the world doesn’t work like that. That’s where it can get awkward. How do you decide who gets what equity? Is money the factor? Or time and energy? Did you think of the idea and consider it “your” baby? It’s tough, right? For all of us, we were upfront and honest with each other. Eventually we came to a decision, I would invest $40,000 for 40% and Cam and Mike would each invest $30,000 for 30%. We figured we needed about $100,000 whether we were getting a food truck or a brick and mortar. Remember we had the name Igloo Rolls, but we weren’t quite set on which direction would be best to start.
To secure everything, we had to iron out the Operating Agreement…