As a two-woman team (with the help of a lot of #TeamTCC minions) we know a thing or two about working with a partner. In fact, it’s the topic we get asked about the most frequently.
- How did we know it was a good fit?
- How do we work together?
- How do we handle conflict?
While it’s difficult to put into words (sometimes you just know), there are three key foundations that we know are at play. It’s these three things that work well together to make the big picture work. If one of these pieces were out of line then we’re in serious trouble.
So if a collaboration or even an official partnership has been on your radar be sure to ask yourself these three questions first.
Are your goals inline?
We start here, because if we’re being honest every other thing can be work on and adjusted. But you can’t really change your big dreams or goals. You can’t ignore them and you can’t work towards someone else’s dream.
Now, we’re not talking about what one of you might be nervous or scared to do (like public speaking or writing a book), we’re talking big picture. We’re talking financial goals, lifestyle goals, missions and legacies.
If you own a shop and one of you wants to maintain local mom & pop status, but the other wants to be featured in Vogue and have a line in Nordstrom - there’s going to be conflict.
If one of you wants to make a million dollars before they turn 40, but the other wants to just have a little extra money to travel with - there’s going to be conflict.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these scenarios, but the important thing to realize is that each of them have completely different business strategies to make them happen.
So if you’ve got a business partnership in mind it’s time to ask this question. Get real and be honest - there’s no point in holding anything back.
This conversation was one of the most eye opening for both of us. We were sitting on the office floor talking about the dreams we had for our life and business.
They were nearly identical.
Being on the same page with our hopes & dreams made the brainstorming and action plans easier. We knew we were both working towards the same goal so the strategy behind our moves would be cohesive.
Do you know your weaknesses?
We’re not just talking about the Meyer’s Briggs Assessment or the Color Test to see what your strengths and weaknesses are (although that’s a great place to start). We’re asking you to dig deep and know what you’re truly not great at.
Know your weaknesses and know them well.
Know them well enough that you can check them off with your fingers in a conversation with you future business partner.
If you know what you’re truly bad at it helps with a lot of things like:
- You won’t have to do those things (because you suck at it). If you’re bad at math maybe you shouldn’t be in charge of the books. If you’re bad at closing the deal maybe you shouldn’t cold call clients.
- Your business partner won’t have to point them out to you. This one is huge. There’s nothing fun about telling someone that maybe they’re not that great at something. Don’t put your business partner in this awkward and uncomfortable position, bring these things up yourself.
- Your business won’t suffer from it. You’ll be able to do the things that you truly shine with and your business will be able to move forward faster. There’s no sense in correcting a mistake that you can prevent in the first place.
Know your weaknesses, babe.
What about theirs?
This is the harmonizing secret sauce. If you know your businesses partner’s weaknesses (even the ones they don’t know about) you two will be floating on a cloud of amazing business cohesion.
This isn’t about keeping a tally of the things they suck at. This isn’t even about telling them if it isn’t major.
This is about your expectations.
This is about you knowing what you’re getting.
It’s about you picking up the slack, giving it another eye, making an adjustment. And being okay with doing it.
It’s about you knowing they’re not the best speller so you go in and edit that post. Or knowing their tone might come off harsh so going in and making that comment nicer. Or reorganizing that workspace after they go through it because they’re kind of a slob.
It’s not about nitpicking their flaws or expecting them to “just do better next time”. We’re our own boss most likely because we hated that aspect from our old jobs. There’s no reason to recreate that environment in your own business.
So before you jump into a partnership because it seems like you’ll get double the work done, truly think about these questions.
We love our partnership and wouldn’t trade it for the world. There are days when we “get” each other 200% and some days where it’s more like we’re a bickering old couple.
We know that our business has grown because of our partnership and not in spite of it. For that we’re happy.
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