A good business partnership is like a good marriage
Kim and I founded Full Circle Public Relations in 2009. When we created the business, we agreed we each wanted to own 50 percent of the company. Many mentors tried to steer us away from this arrangement, filling our eager ears with horror stories about business partnerships gone bad.
They counseled us that one should have a larger share than the other, therefore having more decision-making authority. Or, that we should bring in a silent partner to own one percent of the business – essentially serving as a “tie breaker,” should we ever come to an impasse about something.
Kim and I agreed we wanted to be 50/50 in this endeavor. All for one and one for all. Nevermind the naysayers, we said, we wanted to prove everyone wrong. (That little piece about us is very telling in a lot of ways!).
To us, a successful business partnership is much like a successful marriage, and we wanted to grow our business equally, together. Here’s a few things Kim and I have learned in our partnership so far:
1. Communication is key: just like in a marriage, communication is the key to making it work. Taking some valuable advice early on from our business coach, Jim Laseter, we set weekly check in meetings to discuss all facets of the business, as well as what’s going on in our personal lives. We rarely miss this meeting – even if we’re traveling. It’s a nice time for us to pause from the day-to-day work and talk bigger picture.
2. If you’re going to fight, fight fair: Kim and I are human. We’re like sisters in the fact that while we always love each other, sometimes we get on each others nerves. 🙂 When we do disagree, we’re open about it. We talk about it. And we’re always quick to say, “I’m sorry.” In essence, we never “go to bed mad.”
3. Evolve: much like in a marriage, people evolve as they get older. You’re not the same person at 25 as you’ll be at 35, 45 or 55 (and who would want to be, really?). The key is to evolve together. That doesn’t mean you have to give up who you are to accommodate to the other person. It just means recognizing that people want different things at different stages in their life. If you can figure that out together, you’re in a position to succeed and keep the relationship intact.
4. Stay friends: Kim and I truly love hanging out together. We’re dear friends outside of the office, which I think helps us in the business. We care about each other’s families, hobbies, and outside-of-work interests. Kim has always been so supportive of me trying to find work/life balance with my two young boys. And I hope I’m as supportive of her with her family time and commitments. At the end of the day, we’re friends and we respect one another.
Kim and I vowed to each other, to keep the marriage analogy going, in the beginning of the business, that we would always make Full Circle PR be our vision, not anyone else’s. I think that’s important, especially as we’ve grown. As the “parents” of Full Circle PR, it’s up to us to raise our work family the way we want and not how we see someone else doing it. We have to blaze our own trail.
I’m so proud of what Kim, our team and I have done so far. We work for clients we want to talk about. We make rules that work for our business. And we try to have a little fun along the way.
Here’s to a long lasting partnership at Full Circle PR!