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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Where to find partners?

I've got an application I've been developing and marketing for over 10 years which sells fairly steadily but I feel it's not reaching its full potential. 

What I'd like to do is find partners who believe in the product's potential and would be willing to get involved in return for a stake in the business - one in marketing and the other a techie to bounce ideas off and generally argue with ;) 

I know that partnership's are risky (particularly when you don't previously know the person) but I feel I need to motivation of people with a stake in the business to bounce ideas off.  People to share the highs (e.g. when an Aussie magazine featured my software and I made $5,000 in sales off the back of it) which friends and family don't really "get". 

Question is, where could I find such people?  I thought about Linked-In but perhaps it's too "corporate" for what I'm looking for? 

I tried a startups site but no response (possibly I didn't word it very well - this is why I need a marketing director ;)

I thought about putting an advert on my website (2,500 unique visitors a month) but not sure if that's like a restaurant advertising for a chef! 

Anyone got any ideas?  Any horror stories about partnerships gone wrong? ;)
John W King Send private email
Thursday, May 09, 2013
It might be worth posting to http://answers.onstartups.com/ as well, if you haven't already.
Scorpio Send private email
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Good tip thanks I shall do that this afternoon.
John W King Send private email
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Here is how I would do this:

Employ or contract someone. Don't mention partnership. If the person you hire does exceptional job, becomes passionate about your business, and otherwise appears to be a good fit, offer partnership as an option.
Dmitry Leskov @Home Send private email
Thursday, May 09, 2013
I agree with Dmitry, partnership it's a hefty price to pay if you already have a business going.

If you need motivation and you are the one who must work, hire somebody to sit beside you watching you work. They may also yell at you when you browse to unrelated websites.  Or hire somebody to do the work for you.

If  you need to discuss about marketing or business strategy, hire a consultant. I know that Bob Walsh (marketing), Patrick Mackenzie (marketing/adwords) and IIRC Jason Cohen (business strategy) take small business consultancy gigs.

If you just want to talk, there are a lot of good people around here and on other forums,  make some friends and share experiences in private.
Mauricio Macedo Send private email
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Thanks folks, I found a couple of sites to post "partner wanted" ads on via existing threads on the onstartups site. 

I'll see what (if any) replies I get and take it from there. 

I know what you're saying and there was a time when I wouldn't even have considered giving a share of the business to anyone else. 

However it used to make a comfortable second income, now it covers hosting and a bit of pocket money ;)  Every so often I think there's no market for it any more then I'll get an email from a customer raving about it!

The main thing is I spent a LOT of time on the last major update which hasn't had the impact I hoped for and I feel jaded with the whole thing, albeit I still think it has potential. 

I feel that I need people on board with fresh ideas and enthusiasm who is more in touch with the market (I didn't even know about OnStartups ;) 

I'd rather have 1/3rd of a potentially thriving business than 100% of a hobby! 

I spent a lot (for me) of money once with a consultant who is generally highly regarded but it didn't go well - I don't think he really understood the product or the niche it is in.  I got a partial refund but I think I really need someone who is as enthused about the product as one of my customers but who wants to be involved in a business. 

I'll post back with any updates!
John W King Send private email
Thursday, May 09, 2013
"Any horror stories about partnerships gone wrong?"
I can't provide details, but being promised equity in a company that went bankrupt after I had cut all ties in my job market was a horror story for me.  The only lesson I have from it is that even when everyone has the best of intentions and are good at what they do, a business can still fail.

" I've been developing and marketing for over 10 years which sells fairly steadily but I feel it's not reaching its full potential"
That's easy, either sell it or hire some new people as Dmitry said.  10 years is a long time in the software business.  That fact that you are still in business means you shouldn't risk driving it into the ground by bringing in a partner.
Howard Ness Send private email
Thursday, May 09, 2013
If it is motivation and someone to bounce ideas off you need, maybe you could get that from hanging out with other business owners on forums, at conferences and at meetups, without taking on partners.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, May 10, 2013
If it were a successful business and my main income then of course I'd be reluctant to bring other people on board. 

But although it used to provide a good second income, perhaps borderline 1st income - at present it's a successful hobby at best :) 

All I'd really be bringing to the venture is a product that has a customer base and still gets enough sales to show there may be potential there + ideas. 

Perhaps that may appeal to someone more than a complete startup where the concept is entirely unproven. 

I couldn't afford to hire minimum wage staff let alone someone good :)  In any case with something like this I think you need someone with passion (myself 10 years ago would be perfect!) who believes in the product and is prepared to help take it to the next level in return for a stake in the business rather than someone who may do the bear minimum effort they can to make a wage. 

Selling the business would be a hard sell on current income levels and would require a lot of hand holding whilst they get their heads around my crazy code ;)

I've got the ideas just not the momentum to see them through at the moment. 

I know in my day job when I had a side-kick although we spent more time talking, and arguing over certain points, we also got more done because we would motivate each other and compliment each other's weaknesses (nice weakness you've got there, ha ha ;) 

I'd like to go to more meetups, but there's not much locally and again it's back to the issues of hours in the day + money. 

TBH I think my chances of finding the "right" people will be remote, but no harm in putting the feelers out there.
John W King Send private email
Saturday, May 11, 2013

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