Business partnerships are fascinating! We’ve been asked how Bea + Elle came about and how we found success together as business partners. It’s funny because we have no idea what the formula is for successful business co-ownership.
It’s probably similar to co-parenting.
That being said, we have learned a few things over the years that might be helpful to you if you’re seeking the support of a business partner. These are the thoughts and experiences of two lady introverts who have developed and run a successful branding and web design business together.
You’ve gotta like, like each other.
A wise place to start is to like the person you want to work with.
However, liking someone isn’t enough.
Our friendship is years old. We met when we were young newlyweds, neighbors in student family housing in a state that was not home to either of us before either of us had kids. We began doing small design jobs and working together on projects as we grew our design skillset and vision. As a result, a shared interest coupled with a similar lifestyle situation at the beginning of our journey helped us get to where we are. Together.
Our history is important.
Also, we don’t just like each other. We know each other and we get each other. Because friendship takes effort we’re invested in this friendship, and as a result, in this business. Business ownership is teamwork, even when there are only two people on the team. You want to work with someone you “click” with.
Thankfully, neither Brooke nor I are easily offended. And we’re very aware of each other’s intentions when it comes to communication. We would never intentionally hurt each other – or anyone.
There is no pretense between us.
We’re completely open about everything.
That’s also how we are in general.
People pleasing isn’t a trait either of us possesses and we don’t have the energy to spend on creating or playing a role in complicated situations. Our goal is to be productive in our communication and to use our energy wisely.
Additionally, responsiveness is a priority. Our messages to each other don’t go very long without a reply.
When you decide to work with someone and raise a business together you have the opportunity to explore your own foundation and pinpoint where you need specific support. When discovering how to succeed at co-ownership, all cards are on the table.
Another aspect of business partnership and balance is to accept responsibility to support your partner as needed. And in return, to allow them to assist you.
Generally, that’s what partnership is.
We agree on our brand pillars for Bea + Elle and we also support each other in our roles. If you can’t imagine yourself caring about and supporting your potential business partner it’s not going to work. Home life, what shows we’re watching, raising kids, health, vacations, etc. Additionally, they are all part of the Bea + Elle ecosystem.
Many relationships are destroyed by unmet, unspoken, or unattainable expectations.
Expectations often work hand in hand with communication.
Within our business, we have a shared vision of where we want to be. We’re on the same page and therefore open to discussing how things are progressing and any pivots we need to make to get to where we want to reach.
While we have our roles and do them the best we can, if it’s not working out we troubleshoot together.
Lastly, none of this is possible without trust; trust that communication is honest, that responsibilities are balanced, that expectations are reasonable and being met, and those goals can be reached without drama or confusion. If you can’t trust your partner, it’s a red flag right off the bat.
All in all, there is no scientifically proven formula for success in this instance.
We do however have a lot of experience in this particular relationship and we continue to learn together also. There are a lot of things we can do better and a lot of things we have to this point learned to do better. It’s a process that we’re committed to discovering together. A partnership is long-term and a serious thing to consider. We’ve barely scratched the surface in this post.
Later we’ll cover the people we’ve added to our team. Because, while our names are on the website there are a lot of people who help keep this thing running!