[ASK TBM] Why Having a Business Partner Is Critical to Success

While many entrepreneurs prefer to go solo, MAGWAI’s CEO and Co-Founder shares why having a business partner can be key to success or failure.

Running a business is a daunting task on its own. Many aspiring entrepreneurs fear they cannot do it alone, but at the same time, they also worry about having conflicts with other shareholders. Is it advisable to take on a business partner to take on some of the workload? 

Statistics show that “70% of business partnerships ultimately fail,” according to The Balance. Conflict can also arise between partners, especially when they have different work ethics, disagree on the direction of the business, and have disputes on how to share profit. 

So is it a good idea to have a business partner or are you better off alone? For those considering the former, we asked the CEO and Co-Founder of MAGWAI, Czar Carbonel, to share her experience working with her own business partners for her company. 

Together with her business partners, Maffy Tamayo and Mico Anabo, Carbonel launched MAGWAI with the goal of offering sustainable personal care products that are not harmful to the environment, in particular, the ocean. 

What pushed you to start MAGWAI? 

Our journey with MAGWAI started around seven years ago, when I read an article about how mainstream chemical-based sunscreens are toxic to coral reefs. I was about to go on a beach trip, so I tried looking for a reef-safe sunscreen in the Philippines but couldn’t find any. 

I was working in corporate advertising at that time and shared this with my colleague, Maffy. Incidentally, she also knew about the issue about chemical sunscreens being toxic to coral reefs, and the inaccessibility of reef-safe sunscreens in the Philippines was also a frustration for her. 

So, we decided to start MAGWAI to develop reef-safe sunscreen here locally to make it more accessible to Filipinos and tourists.

Why did you decide to go into business with your partners instead of doing it all on your own?

I decided to partner up with my friends Maffy and Mico because they had different expertise and backgrounds, which I knew would benefit MAGWAI’s growth. We also had previous working experience, and I have tremendous respect for them. I also find working with them fun.

What, for you, are the pros and cons of having business partners?

For pros, having business partners means we get a mix of complementing expertise and perspectives. Our strategies and executions become supercharged because we see things from different angles. Also, we’re in this rollercoaster experience together–celebrating the highs and conquering the lows. 

As for the cons, one downside is that the team might not always be on the same page. Life stuff can pop up, leading to different priorities and levels of commitment. Then sometimes, the scope of work might be unclear, affecting who’s responsible for what. 

Luckily, our team in MAGWAI has set the clear scope and responsibilities from the get-go.

Would you recommend having a business partner to other entrepreneurs? Why or why not?

Yes, I would recommend having business partners to fellow entrepreneurs.

Having multiple viewpoints can help in crafting a solid strategy and can help with the execution as well. This is especially true if you’re teaming up with co-founders you’ve worked with before. Having that shared history and deep respect for your co-founders helps a lot with the working dynamic.

What concrete tips and advice can you give to those who are unsure how to navigate running a business with a partner?

Key here is partnering with people that you truly respect and trust, based on your past history working together. If this foundation is solid, the rest tends to fall into place quite smoothly.

Czar Carbonel is the co-founder and CEO of MAGWAI. Prior to launching her business, she had a career in advertising, specifically in digital media and creative strategy. She is also the owner of the direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand Candy Shield, which is an e-commerce business that offers protective cases for Macbooks.