Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy Valentines Day Co-preneurs!

Relationships are complicated enough – imagine being in business with your significant other!  As we celebrate Valentines Day lets raise a glass and toast those “co-preneurs” who have committed to each other through thick and thin – in sickness and in health and when cash flow is good and not so good!    When I bring this topic up most people fall on one side of the fence or the other.  One side responds with “I would love to work with my significant other” while the other side adamantly states “Are you kidding me???!!!”

I found myself in this situation with my former significant other as we ventured into business together first operating an Inn and then a tour boat operation.  We loved being in business together.   We were a team sharing common goals and enjoying the wins and losses along the way.   No one else understood what we were going through – what running our businesses was like – except us.   We were fully in it together.   Did we have our moments? - sure!   You can’t help but get on each others nerves every now and then when you are together all the time and often dealing with stressful situations.   But we maintained our sense of humor and rode through the bumps in the road together.  It truly made us stronger.

One of the key reasons being in business together worked well for us and what I hear from other couples doing the same – was that we had very different jobs and responsibilities.   When we ran the tour boat – he was the licensed Captain.   I served as crew every now and then – but that boat was his baby.  I was not going to tell him how to sail it or manage the crew – no way!   I handled the business end - sales, marketing, personnel and financial matters.  He stayed out of the office and I stayed clear of the engine room!  It worked very well for us.   Sure we planned the day together and discussed how many trips we could do – how many passengers we could take and how many crew we needed.   Bottom line – each of us focused on our strengths and respected each others knowledge and work.  But our common goal was always the same – to run a successful business and make our customers happy and keep them safe!

It is possible to successfully be in business with your partner.  It takes mutual respect, defining and separating job duties and responsibilities, sharing common goals, maintaining a sense of humor and genuinely liking the other person enough to want to spend lots of time together  – lots!    Happy Valentines to all you co-preneurs making it work!   May you enjoy some well deserved “couple” time and forget about the business for just a little bit!

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