A strong relationship is based on trust, shared values and hard work. But what does that actually entail when it comes to a business partnership? Each one is unique, but these seven tips have stood Dominique and I in good stead since we started our marketing agency five years ago.
Keep it real
Have frank conversations, often. Don’t put off something that needs to be addressed, as the issue will just become exacerbated over time. Also look out for each other, support each other and give constructive feedback. It’s key to stay united through tough decisions, so don’t allow employees or clients to come between you.
Connect with mentors
Dominique and I see a leadership coach once a month and couldn’t think of a better way to spend that time or budget. He gives us perspective and practical suggestions in every single session.
We have also built up a network of incredible mentors and make time to take at least one of them for lunch every month, to ask for advice, bounce ideas off them and learn from their experience in the industry.
Tip: make time to implement ideas that are sparked after each conversation and try to tackle challenges together to strengthen your relationship.
Play to your super powers
Identify each of your strengths, what the common ones are, and how to use them to develop your business. Make sure that your roles play to your individual strengths and that each partner is happy with their allocation of work. Also, be cognisant of your weaknesses and support each other in areas that require it… team work is always the way to go.
Your roles are likely to morph over time as your business develops – sometimes they will dovetail, and sometimes they will develop in different directions. The important thing is to discuss these changes, how they benefit the business, and how they align with your passions and personal goals.
You should understand enough about your partner’s role to be able to give input, and step in if they are away – but also give them enough space to take ownership of their side of the business.
Be accountable to each other
Knowing where you stand is a great way to build confidence. Pencil in quarterly meetings to chat about what’s working and what’s not. Set goals and assess which ones have been met, and how to reach the ones that are still just out of reach.
Get out of your comfort zone
When was the last time you pushed yourself to try something new? Or tackled a challenge head on without worrying about whether you’d succeed or fail? Feeling that adrenaline rush and sense of achievement if it all comes together is hard to beat, and keeps you on the same page.
We recently started a podcast called life behind the yellow door which took us right out of our comfort zones, but in the best way possible – not only is it ticking off a new part of our marketing strategy for 2019, but we had such fun doing it!
Balance work and play
Also make time to catch up outside the office – whether it’s a sunrise hike up Lion’s Head or unwinding over a glass of wine on a Friday…
Remember that every day as a business owner comes with a new set of challenges and triumphs, so don’t underestimate the value of having a business partner that you can trust and depend on.
About the Author:
Co-founder, new business director, Yellow Door Collective
With her big picture thinking and ambitious ideas, Emma ensures that our business keeps growing yet we never lose sight of our values. She sees to it that every campaign is strategically thought out and executed in the best way possible. Our clients love her easy-going but firm approach to marketing, and she thrives on building these relationships towards success.
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