Much of the advice given about how to choose the right business partner is that you should have someone who complements your skill set. I agree it can be a good thing, but it is not necessary and sometimes it might take you into a bad partnership if that is one of your most important criteria. Bottom line, it is not even necessary.
Both Ellen and Sandy had the same design and marketing skills. They met in school where they were studying the same thing. They worked so well together not just creating, but brainstorming new ideas and ways to operationalize and market them. The results are that their products are in stores across the country and they enjoy their partnership relationship.
In their case “two heads are better than one”. 1+1 is greater than the sum of 2.
Of course, a business, depending on its size needs the additional skills of handling technology, finances, employees, vendors, etc.
Usually even partners who have complementary skills still have some areas which none of them know how to do. They either take it upon themselves to learn them or they hire others from the outside as consultants, such as lawyers and accountants, sub-contractors, such as IT experts or employees to do the missing tasks.
Other common examples of partners with the same skill set are lawyers, real estate agents, accountants and many others. In all of these situations, it becomes necessary to find others on the outside to hire or with whom to consult. Why is that a bad thing?
The misconceptions that abound in advice giving about choosing the right partneris a concern to me, as the partnership expert for many years. I see many giving advice, but skipping or missing the most important things that partners need to find in each other, which are:
Agreement about the mission of the business
And they must trust and respect each other
Of course there is much more to setting up an actual business together, but if these most important elements are not present, skills won’t matter. Do not reject a potential partner just because you both sharethe same skill set.
In the case of Ellen and Sandy and many others, it really pays off and it may for you too.