scary-biz partners

Being in business alone is totally lonely.

Being in business with two can mean the end of both the business and the relationship. Three is like goldilocks – it’s just right. “In sickness and in health” is not just in marriage but also in business. It is a relationship that can ruin everything.

People often don’t understand the reason I married my husband. I guess they think that I am cold. I’m not. Really. Well, not that much. We are together out of love, ten years strong; but we married each other to protect ourselves, our son and assets.

The assets grew every year we stayed together; we got the house that depended on each salary and things got more complicated the moment we went into business together. Together, we have this business that somehow works. I am pensive and careful, take calculated risks.

He is an impetuous, affectionate and creative man who can sell ice to an Eskimo. I am, well, not so affectionate or emotional, will not sell you anything you don’t already want, and I am not too creative. But I can manage the crap out of a project.

He’s sales, I’m operations; he’s the pretty face of the company, and I remain happily in the back.

At any moment this business could ruin the relationship. A business ruined my friend’s partnership. Today she is a very happy single mom, former entrepreneur who realized five years later that she physically hates her ex.

While I think there are many reasons why, I think a lot of it has to do with their different business style. Business also ruined the fifteen year relationship of a local business owner; down the drain went her entrepreneurial spirit, her partnership and her friendship.

What was the problem? Where’d it all go wrong? It’s hard to tell. Like any relationship, opposites attract. A creative and emotional person (i.e. my husband) is friends with a business-minded and not so emotional individual (similar to me) thinking it is a great combination and they have a great idea (his is the same combination of the other two relationships).

The business idea is sound, the executions and division of work theoretically sounds great, and in many aspects it is. But two can be a lonely number in business (perhaps in other aspects too, but not a subject for this blog).

The point of this “sickness and in health” marriage we call “business” is polygamy – in business. Three or more partners at a time is great (meant only in business but if it works for you in other aspects of your life, mazal tov). An odd number of partners creates the tie breaker, the business mediator, the other person with the different idea, the different point of view, the red team of sorts, the person who can judge whether one way is better than the other; taking the strain out of the relationship. Hence, the third person ultimately saves the relationship.

There is a lot of sickness in the world, it shouldn’t be in your business. If it is just you and your mate, consider a new business partner (further an infusion of cash never hurts) or a mentor who can be a tie breaker, or simply the voice of reason. Either way, you were friends/lovers first, the business came second and while the business is your baby now you should never break up over it.

The point: Talk it out because “hablando es que se entiende” (best translated to mean – through communication comes understanding).

And another reality is, that many of us do this so we can spend more time together.

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    1. Thanks Natasha. I know you know how it is – to run your business, have to hustle to make it work and make it grow. Stay tuned for the next post on reputational risk.

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