Picking a business partner can feel very similar to picking your life partner. You spend hours every week with this person, make huge decisions together and plan a future you are both working hard towards. Making sure you have the same vision and goals, whilst still having varied opinions, is important. How do you even begin to know if you can work with this person? No matter how long you work with someone, how closely you worked together or close you became, you never really know someone until you go into business with them.
My lovely business partner Natalie recently went away for her honeymoon for 3 weeks. It has been planned for so long and in business no time is ever perfect, right? So, it was booked, we planned and positioned our business for her absence, but what I didn’t plan for was how much I was going to miss her. The saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ comes to mind, but it also made me realise how well we work together. I realised during this time that I had inadvertently picked my business life partner for some of the following reasons.
We complement each other
We complement each other’s skill set, our way of thinking about business and the transactions we help customers with and what we love working on. We work on separate areas of our business, we belong to different networking groups and focus and attract different customers. This is what makes us great. I had a customer call while she was away needing help with an area I knew about financially, but had never gone through the actual process with the lender – Natalie did this for our business! It has been an awesome experience for me professionally for growth, but OMG I missed her at that moment. Something I fumbled through (not that the customer knew) would be something she’d have done effortlessly.
We support each other
She is such a massive support, we talk everyday about everything. We celebrate all the amazing things that happen, we vent when things are tough and we work as a team to find solutions to problems. Running a business can be lonely, especially after working in a busy corporate space. For me, having someone to talk to is important. I know I need human interaction to keep me productive and more importantly – happy! We make sure we spend one day a week, working from anywhere, but working together. It is great to just sit together, throw ideas around and have a sounding board.
We have the same values and visions
This is incredibly important to us. We have the same vision for our business, so we are working towards the same goals. We have the same values, so we trust each other and know we maintain integrity within our business and with our customers. Trust within a partnership is vital, as without it you crumble quickly. We want to create a sustainable and reputable business, without a consistent value or vision it would be extremely difficult.
I had the wrong business partner
This is like when you’ve dated all the wrong people, only so you know the right one when they come into your life. I had a business partner who is brilliant, exceptionally good at what he does and still a friend, but not the one for me. Our vision was different and we thought differently about a lot of things and not always in a good way. Having experienced this has made Natalie and I work harder on our relationship and made us realise how well we do work together.
Most importantly – she’s my friend
Starting a business has challenged me in ways I never knew possible. It has challenged me from a professional perspective. I have worked harder than I thought possible, I have pushed myself and grown in some amazing ways and I have also had days full of self-doubt and wondering if I should be doing this. This in turn has opened a lot of things for me on a personal level. Natalie has been there the whole time. We’ve gone through this journey together, we’re the only two people who understand our journey and it has made her an even more amazing friend.
I am lucky and proud to have her as my business partner. I hope everyone gets to experience the joys of having a work partner to support you during the good, bad, and crazy times.