Make time for the people that matter most

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‘5 ways to keep your business partnership healthy’ was the title of my latest article for Your Business Magazine and is a topic that I’m incredibly passionate about.

I’m going to share the key points with you in this blog post, and give a few examples of how Dom and I implement them here at Yellow Door. Please feel free to comment with questions, or add your own suggestions.

Work on it, all the time

Don’t let life, or work, get too busy to work on your relationship. Make time to catch up outside the office. Lunch at Nando’s, mountain walks and massages are our top three!

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 unified through tough decisions, don’t allow employees or clients to come between you.

Invest in leadership training

Dom and I see a leadership coach once a month and couldn’t think of a better way to spend that time or budget. We get valuable advice and practical suggestions in every single session. This is also a safe space to bring up issues that are difficult to discuss and may need a moderator to solve.

Make sure you implement what has been discussed and agreed after the coaching, and try to tackle challenges together to strengthen your relationship.

Play to your strengths

Identify each of your strengths, what the common ones are, and how to use them strategically in your role and company. 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. This Saboteur Test is a great way to identify them, and work on them.

Clearly define your roles and responsibilities

It’s normal and healthy for your roles 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. I’m having to put this one to the test while Dom takes a well-deserved break in Europe, and it’s really made me appreciate and understand her role a whole lot better.

Reassess every three-months

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.

Every day as a business owner comes with a new set of challenges and triumphs, and the most important thing is to learn as you go, celebrate the small things and really appreciate the value of having a business partner that you can trust and depend on.

As LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman aptly says, “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”


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