I decided to write this post because colleagues often ask me how I operate a business with not one, but two business partners. It’s hard enough having one business partner, let alone two, but I have to tell you our business relationship has been magical. Our friendship is more like a brotherhood, which makes it even more exciting to work together. I’m very blessed to have two amazing partners: Jim Fulford and Gregg Sturz. Between the three of us (we talked about it), it’s collective genius! We joke about our “collective genius” all the time. Individually, we each are good at certain things, but collectively it’s masterful.
I’m not saying we are “masterful” to brag. I’m very proud of our team, and we’ve done some fantastic things individually. But I will tell you the three of us together make magic happen! But how?
When you know that you have partners that have your back and commit to operating in a like-minded way, you can put your head on your pillow at night and feel pride for everything you’re building.
The key to our success is having trust between us three owners. We have absolute confidence in one another. I know that no matter what, every decision that Jim or Gregg makes is making our company better. Every question Jim, Gregg, and I ask is, “how do we help grow our company?”. Every decision Jim, Gregg, and I are making is to ensure we are best in class at what we do. When you know that you have partners that have your back and commit to operating in a like-minded way, you can put your head on your pillow at night and feel pride for everything you’re building. All three of us put in just as many hours and days as each other and want something extraordinary for our team members and our family members- none of which would be possible without trust.
The second key to having multiple partners is specific roles and responsibilities. Each of us has a particular lane, and we stay in it. The critical factor is what I mentioned about trust. We trust each other with that lane. For example, when Gregg makes decisions, I may question the “why,” but I don’t need to examine every detail because I already know details are Gregg’s specialty, and we trust each other implicitly. Jim handles all the technology, and no matter what, Jim’s going to put his mind to the technology and make sure that it’s effective and is best in class. We already know what we want to accomplish, so there’s no need for me or Gregg to waste time trying to do Jim’s job and vice versa.
Trust is the critical factor.
The third key to having multiple business partners is that we all have to agree and have consensus before moving forward in any area of our business. Requiring agreement has caused us to get in it with one another because we don’t all see eye to eye, but it requires us to have a conversation and all come to the same conclusion and agree on a way that we’re going to move forward. Making sure we all agree might take a little extra time, but it is necessary for success.
Lastly, we get paid the same, so we base our decisions on how to increase the bottom line and grow the business. We ensure that we can pay our team exceptionally well and make sure that we get paid in the process. Many business owners will find that paying themselves first is a novel concept. Still, we genuinely are striving every day to make ourselves a better company and be able to do that. (When we are happy, it trickles down to our team!).
We’re in three different geographical locations, so every day at 8:30 a.m. we get on zoom for anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. It has been beneficial for us to communicate consistently. Despite our busy schedule, it’s not optional. We also close out every day on another Zoom to talk about what’s happened. We probably make 15 to 20 decisions throughout the day, and it might require us to hop on Zoom to ask each other a question and get clarity. Being able to see each other eyeball to eyeball and have conversations as if we were in the same building has been fuel for our business. Video meetings are necessary even allow us to share in emotional milestones such as virtual high fives for great sales, and successes. Although we’re not physically together, about every 60 to 90 days, we get together for a face-to-face weekend. We spend some time on the whiteboards talking about our company, where we’re going, and what we are going to do. We know that we get a lot done when we’re all focused and working together, and it makes us better as a united company! (Of course, COVID-19 has prevented us from getting together this quarter. It’s so strange because we are used to seeing each other face to face more often. But, I am so glad we already have the daily zoom calls implemented because we haven’t missed a beat. Our communication is consistent, and that is a vital part of doing business together.
When someone asks what it is like having two business partners, I can honestly say it’s incredible! It makes running a business smoother. It makes things more straightforward, as contradictory as it may sound at first. It makes difficult days seem less of a burden. And it’s fun! Multiple business partners shouldn’t make you want one of them to magically disappear and you shouldn’t have fantasies of sawing the others in half. (sorry, I just HAD to insert the magic jokes at the end!)
So to summarize, in order for magic to happen all the partners must have:
Having a business with partners work so well together isn’t like having a unicorn. It is possible for anyone. I hope Jim, Gregg, and I can inspire you and your team. Let me know how it is working out for you.