Twice in the past two weeks I was asked if I’d ever sell my company and roll up in a larger social media / social marketing firm. I’m not sure if I would. I have friends that have sold companies and get absorbed into the new structure, and it seems to have worked out just fine for them. I don’t have any offers on the table for a buy-out or have ever been offered one. I’m just really starting to notice small firms and independent business people being picked up by larger firms that I have a lot of respect for. I know the answer to this – I live my days in the trenches with clients and projects, and don’t get great ‘face time’ with people from those firms (and get forgotten about).  Another part of it is that I completely don’t understand the value of purchasing a company when all of the assets are intellectual (client roster aside) and probably don’t give off the vibe at all that I’d be interested in a merger.

What it comes down to is the idea of a business partner sounds really appealing, but I’m a bit of a control freak. For better or worse, I pretty much lead the direction of the company. This is not the first company I’ve owned, and I have always been the only person ‘running the show’ as far as decisions etc. It’s EXHAUSTING. Becoming just another employee or cube farmer is not appealing to me at all. Finding a business partner is.  I have no prospects for that, and it is very difficult for me to trust someone else to handle my business and clients.  (See ‘control freak’ above.)  It’s more thinking out loud and wondering what other people have been though – or if I’m alone in this…

I landed three clients in the last week alone, and a few more came on board I thought drifted to sea.  I should be thrilled (I am). Maybe I’m reflecting on this because I nearly ran myself into the ground getting these contracts.  It’s mentally exhausting wearing every single hat in a company while sewing some more to wear.  Employees aren’t the answer, it’s not a matter of finding someone to complete tasks.  Employees almost never have the same level of passion, commitment, dedication, or skin in the game as an owner/partner does.  In that hierarchical mode of employer/employee, the hired gun backs down more easily not to piss off their boss and risk losing their job.  It may sound a bit strange, but having someone to challenge me and push buttons from time to time is actually a good thing.  Although I’ve never made a list, there is a laundry list of attributes I would look for in a partnership, and to be quite honest, I’m not sure my company looks all that appealing to gobble up from the outside.  Going back to the ‘eating your own dog food‘ theory, I spend most of my working time for clients and never using my own skills to promote and grow my own firm.

What would you need to ‘sell out’ or take a partner?  Is it money, division of responsibilities, a sounding board?  Just like so many 9-to-5ers dream of their own business and the freedom it brings, how many small business owners dream about being a water drop sucked into the puddle?

Maybe all I need is a good night’s sleep and maybe a four night vacation in St. Thomas – or an amazing business partner.