The Upsurge of Joint Ventures in Small Businesses: Exploring Potential Pitfalls

Photo by Rami Hammoud

Let’s say you run a small business that produces sustainable and eco-friendly home goods, such as bamboo towels and reusable beeswax wraps. You have a strong commitment to sustainability and reducing waste, but you’re struggling to expand your product line and reach a wider audience.



You could enter into a joint venture with another purpose-driven company that shares your values and has complementary offerings, such as a company that produces sustainable cleaning products or reusable containers. Together, you could create a bundled package of sustainable home goods that meets the needs of consumers who are committed to reducing waste and living a more eco-friendly lifestyle.



This joint venture benefits both companies – you gain access to new product offerings that you can offer to your customers, while the other company gains access to your customer base and expertise in sustainable home goods. Together, you can offer a more comprehensive range of sustainable home goods than either of you could alone, and share in the profits that result.




Key Takeaways


– Joint ventures (JVs) are a strategic alliance, where business can pool their resources and expertise to achieve a goal

– Advantages of JVs include shared costs, access to more resources including capital, labor, assets and expertise.

– Joint ventures are different from partnerships because JVs do not involve any sharing of ownership of the venture.




What is a Joint venture? and how does it apply to small companies?



A joint venture is a strategic alliance where two or more people or companies agree to contribute goods, services and/or capital to a common commercial enterprise. The contributions can include resources such as capital, labor, or assets, skill or expertise such as experience and knowledge



SMEs have advantages when consider JV (Joint ventures), by teaming up with other people or businesses in a joint venture, you can:


– Extend your marketing reach

– Access needed information, resources, and skill sets

– Build credibility with a particular target market

– Access new markets that would be inaccessible without the partner

– Access technical expertise and know-how that your company may be lacking

– Access intellectual property that would otherwise be out of your reach

– Access new revenue streams

– Share risks and expenses



For instance, suppose you and five other potters form a joint venture to hold a Potter’s Fair on a particular date. Because you pool your resources, you’re able to do much more advertising and promotion 

than you would be able to go alone, bringing out crowds of customers for your joint event.


At first thought, a joint venture sounds like a partnership, doesn’t it? But legally, joint ventures and partnerships are not the same thing, they’re two distinct forms of business ownership. In a strategic alliance there is no exchange of ownership between the companies involved.

The key distinction between a joint venture and a partnership lies in their respective purposes. Joint ventures are formed when individuals or entities collaborate for a specific purpose or project, while partnerships are formed when individuals or entities come together to run a business jointly.



In a joint venture, each member retains ownership of their own property, and shares only the expenses associated with the specific project or venture. Conversely, in a partnership, all members share ownership of the business, as well as the associated profits and losses.





Joint ventures can certainly exist in small businesses and start-ups, and can be a valuable way to pool resources and expertise in order to achieve growth or tackle complex projects. However, there are several potential pitfalls to be aware of when entering into a JV:



  1. Misaligned goals: If the partners have different goals or priorities for the venture, it can lead to conflict and disagreement over how to proceed.
  2. Unequal contributions: If one partner contributes significantly more resources or capital than the other(s), it can lead to resentment or a feeling of unfairness.
  3. Lack of communication: Communication is key in any business partnership, but particularly so in a JV where there may be multiple parties involved. If communication breaks down, it can lead to misunderstandings or missed opportunities.
  4. Legal and financial risks: JVs can expose partners to legal and financial risks, particularly if they are not structured properly or if the partners do not have adequate protections in place.

To better understand the potential risks and rewards of joint ventures, let’s take a look at a graph that illustrates some key data points:

Risk vs Benefit - JV

In this graph, we can see that JVs can be a valuable way for businesses to achieve growth and increase profits. However, they also come with risks, particularly if the partners are not well-aligned or if there are legal or financial issues. It’s important for businesses considering a JV to carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks, and to work closely with legal and financial advisors to structure the partnership in a way that minimizes risk and maximizes the chances of success.

As a hybrid consultancy, Anima can help small businesses identify potential joint venture opportunities and create smooth journeys for collaboration. We have extensive experience in working with small businesses and developing customized strategies that align with their unique needs and goals.

Our team of experts can help small businesses navigate the complexities of joint ventures, including identifying the right partners, defining clear objectives, and setting metrics for success. With our deep understanding of different business models and strategies, we can help small businesses create a solid foundation for their joint venture and ensure that both parties are aligned towards common goals.

At Anima, our unique value proposition lies in not just strategy development but also in execution. We understand that execution is where most businesses falter and that is where our team can add the most value. We work closely with our clients to develop practical, actionable plans that help them achieve their goals and create value for their stakeholders.

We are well-equipped to help small businesses navigate the complex world of joint ventures, identify opportunities for collaboration, and execute on their strategic plans. With our expertise and focus on execution, we can help small businesses achieve growth and success through joint ventures and other innovative business models.

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