The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
To what was Aristotle referring when he uttered these oft repeated words? I guess that anyone who has ever been –or is now– involved in any team sport will thoroughly understand the inference. Of course, in a team game, it would be foolhardy for individuals to play in isolation. They must rely on all the moving parts and differing skills to take control and win– to beat their opponents.
Perhaps this is also true for the valiant entrepreneur setting out on their rollercoaster journey. A journey full of bright ideas, maybe matters of secrecy or intellectual property that are crucial to their strategic plan?
On our own entrepreneurial journey at our enterprise, JacksonMSV, my colleagues and I have deliberately set out to collaborate with like minds from the outset. Yes, we have our own strategic plan, held to account by independence, probity, and scrutiny of our board, but a key tenet of that plan is to align ourselves with other independent operators to form an ecosystem of professionals, making the collective stronger than the independent. There is much talk –and action, to be fair– these days on co-working spaces, shared resources, and more, but this tends to be on the back of a commercial office space model. That’s good, but I wonder if even closer collaborative ties are the answer to really bucking the trend in the professional services space?
Let me give a real example of where this has worked well for us.
A Dubai-based merger and acquisition specialist, a member of the JacksonMSV ecosystem, was appointed to the board of a local UAE company on a fixed retainer to prepare the company for sale/acquisition. As it is known, when preparing a company for sale, it is essential to perfect corporate governance, and improve the company’s attractiveness to prospective buyers.
The company to which the consultant was appointed had been registered in the UAE for over 20 years, and had a complex structure involving a number of different individual shareholders. So, one of the top priorities of this project was to consolidate the shareholding in a corporate wrapper, advise on the best way to do so, and implement these changes.
Considering the complexity of structure and the amount of work involved to prepare the company for sale adequately, the specialist knew that instead of taking on this task independently, cross-sector collaboration with other specialists would significantly improve efficiency, and in turn, exceed the expectations set by the ultimate beneficial owners. Rather than waste time and unsuccessfully scour the market for assistance, the specialist cooperated with other members of his ecosystem, namely a legal consultant and a structuring specialist, to form a trusted partnership with the same objective, and successfully prepare this company for sale.
Some of the quick wins of independents working together are improved or wider range of services for beneficiaries, wider geographical reach or access to new beneficiary groups, a more integrated approach to beneficiary needs, financial savings and better use of existing resources, and knowledge-, good practice-, and information-sharing.
Unleashing collective intelligence and bonding the workforce with positivity can only add value to achieving an entrepreneur’s goals. We all know that going solo takes guts –it can be a lonely place at times- so any help in sharing that load, whilst maintaining independence, seems the sensible approach to us.
So, if you have your own business, or are thinking about starting out on your own this year, consider your environment: have you got a wide network, and a developed trusted ecosystem of experienced professionals that you would be happy to work with? Do you have someone to call when you need advice, or have a difficult decision to make– or even just when you’re feeling lonely or overwhelmed? If not, we would seriously recommend making this your top priority, so that you have all your parts in place to reach your goals- and make your business (even more) successful.