Many small businesses often emerge from a business partnership. Working alongside a business partner can be likened to a marriage. Just like a marriage there can be a honeymoon period, where everyone is in love with the romance of your new, blossoming business idea… And then reality hits. Things get a bit stressful. Work picks up and before you know it you’re chasing your tails like squirrels at a rave.
The Business Experiment has been built on the foundation of a strong partnership between Jemimah and I. It’s not all been smooth sailing; we’ve had tough times and unbelievably fun and amazing times. With the rapid growth of our podcast, we understand the stresses that can go along with building a business with someone else and to add further complexity, we not only work remotely (Jemimah is in Canberra and I’m in Brisbane) but we each have other separate businesses as well.
We both believe in the strength of collaboration and how together we give extra value to the world. We have put some tips together for how to maintain a healthy relationship with your business partner.
First things first
Go into business with someone you know, like and trust. Jemimah and I have been friends since kinder, however there’s many people who’ve met their business partner at a party or even in a Facebook group and have developed successful businesses together. Where you meet is irrelevant – the key is to ensure you are both the right fit together before committing – research the squirrel out of the other person, take time to get to know them, their business values, practices, skills, talents, weaknesses, journey and build trust together. One of the biggest killers in a business partnership is the absence of trust – this is where assumption grows.
Being transparent with each other at all times is crucial for your success together and for the strengthening of trust. Be clear up front what you both want to achieve out of the partnership or venture and be absolutely clear about how you’re tracking every step of the way. Despite the fact you are both running the same business, you could be individually at different stages of your journey, other businesses and lives. An absence of effective communication damages trust and leads to assumption.
Even if you know the person well, getting legal agreements set up to document how you will both manage the business and what kind of investment and working relationship you’ll have is of paramount importance. It’s very important you stick to your agreements whilst also openly communicating about things that are not working so you can make any necessary changes together along the way. If you have a disagreement remember you’re both on the same team. It’s also important to have a trusted and independent third party who can help you navigate disagreements if you need help.
Work with each other’s strengths and weaknesses
The beauty of Jemimah and I in business together is that our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other. It’s this mix of strengths, skills and talents that takes our podcast business to heights that individually we probably wouldn’t achieve on our own in this particular venture. Allocate tasks or responsibilities according to strengths, figure out what you need to outsource or develop through training, coaching or mentoring.
Laughter is the best medicine
Jemimah and I work hard and laugh a lot along the way. It’s important to remember to take time out to connect with each other as friends or on a human level and ask how the other person’s life is going. Sometimes it can be so easy to become consumed in the day to day of business that you can lose track of each other. Take time out to do things together that are fun and help with growing your bond and relationship. This may involve, wine, coffee, mambo #5 at a karaoke bar (or is that just us?!).
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