All Things Business: How to Choose a Good Business Partner

July 10, 2019

Welcome to our latest series: All Things Business!   We get so many DM’s, comments, and inquires on entrepreneurship, working with each other, and our businesses in general so we wanted to hop on and start sharing our advice and experience here.  The first topic we’ve chosen to tackle is How to Choose a Good Business Partner.

Let’s start by talking about how we met.  So many people think we were friends before starting The Refined Agency.  Truth is we met through Alex’s husband, Michael, who thought we had a lot in common (good job Michael!).  After meeting for a coffee date we hit it off and realized how much we actually had in common.  Learning about how we had similar goals and the same drive was HUGE!  We then planned an event together that was a big success and our client told us we had something special.  Turns out she was right.

When we started The Refined Agency and our other two business, Café Lola and Saint Honoré, we always made sure we were on the same page.   Finding your other half and choosing someone to go into business with can be challenging.  Personalities, work style, leadership and management techniques, and so much more can differ but we’ve found over the years these are some of the more important lessons.

Find someone who has strengths in areas where you may not be as seasoned

It’s important to acknowledge we all have strengths and weaknesses.  Something that is helpful when finding someone to do business with is knowing where you, yourself excel and where you may have shortcomings or might not be as knowledgable as someone else.  Recognizing these aspects of yourself is equally as important as recognizing them in others.  If you shine in the creative part of a business find someone who excels with the logistical aspect or vice versa.  This applies when finding your partner but also throughout running the business everyday.  Having clear boundaries of where one another takes the lead or who to turn to with certain day to day tasks is imperative.

Define goals and expectations up front

This can be said in all parts of life, not just a business, can’t it?! In all honestly sitting down and defining your goals within a business is crucial, especially when there is more than one person involved. Talking about where you want the business to be in the future, how you want it to grow, the kind of employees you want, how you conduct business, the list goes on!  Communication is key!!  Your expectations should also be something that is talked about prior to opening the business.  Knowing what you expect of one another and openly communicating helps build trust and confidence in one another.

Respect each other’s ideas and opinions

Let’s just say if you don’t have have respect, you don’t have anything!  On a personal and professional level this is probably one of the most important tips.  Showing your partner you respect them and what they bring to the team will contribute heavily to the success of your business.  This respect translates into trust for your partner which is critical, as well.  Knowing what is important to each of you, at times compromising, and trusting the other’s decisions is a large part of running a business with someone.

Make an Operating Agreement

Prior to opening your business you need to make sure you are on the same page which is what an operating agreement is for.  This will basically outline a number of important topics that have to do with the way the business is financially and functionally run.  The way decisions are made, rules and provisions should all be included.  Business is business and no matter what you should always have a safeguard to fall back on.

It’s important to know that not any relationship is perfect and business partnerships take hard work to build and keep strong.  But when you find someone who you trust, has the same goals, and believes in your ideas and vice versa it can be a wonderful thing!

Let us know if there are any topics you’d like us to touch on next!



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