Choosing a Partner

“Partnership is not a posture but a process – a continuous process that grows strong each year as we devote ourselves to common tasks.” – JFK

Finding the right partner in business, is a lot like finding the right partnership in love! Sometimes it happens by chance, and other times, you have to search until you find the right fit!  Why am I qualified to speak about what it takes to have a good partner? Well, because I have one, and I’ve had one for the last 7/8 years. Thank you GOD! If you’ve ever heard me talk on a panel, or been to a class I’ve taught, it’s an experience that I always share.

A great way to relieve some of the pressure, in starting or running a business, is to consider having a partner(s). In fact, I am really shocked that I haven’t written about this topic in detail.  I actually could have, and wouldn’t know, because I don’t go back and read old blogs.  SO, if I did, you’re getting it again today (insert innocent smile); I’ll make it good though!

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This was our first shoot together as partners, I believe in 2012 or so. We were new to business, but eager! We believed in the product, and we still have the same eagerness, today!

…we were not best friends or very close at all when we started business…

I am Co-Owner of J&F Advisors, PLLC – a boutique accounting firm in Detroit, Michigan. My business partner, Ashley,  and I met in high school – Cass Technical High School! We went to separate colleges, but we reconnected through our accounting studies.  We would see each other at Accounting related events, and would speak a little about our journey, so far, and where we wanted to take things.  Around the time, when we finished our Masters’ Degrees in Accounting, we had a phone conversation that started with Ashley letting me use her CPA Exam books, but again led to the question of what we wanted to ultimately end up doing. From that conversation, we decided that we’d do it together, and J&F Advisors was born.

For the purpose of transparency, Ashley and I were not best friends or very close at all when we started business.  We were simply friends because we knew each other from high school. She had her own set of best friends, and I had my own.  Through business, we have become very close friends.  So the theory that friends can not to do business is not true. Our moral compass, respect for each other, and dedication to our business has fostered a great relationship, in and out of work.

A large part of our success as partners, is our ability to hone in on the strengths we possess.  We are very purposeful in letting the other do what they do well, while still developing our knowledge and skill set, collectively. We are very confident and transparent when it comes to this, and I can never recall a time when we’ve put each other down, for needing to rely on each other’s strengths.

“When two partners always agree, one of them aint necessary”  -Burt Lancaster

I spoke about how we respect one another, but in addition to respect, there is a very high level of support, on both ends! As friends, we understand birthdays, anniversaries, self-care, and familial priorities.  We never let business get in the way of those obligations, and we are both willing to cover for each other, and we don’t keep track of how much or how often we do it. We support each others wins, in business and in life.

With respect, also comes the ability to disagree well! Typically, we are on the same page with how we want to run our business, but in the instances that we do disagree, we disagree with consideration and selflessness. We don’t argue, and we hear both sides.  Ultimately making a decision that is in the best interest of the business. We do not make decisions without each other, and if we need to, we fully trust each other to make the right one.

Our way of doing business together, is not the only way to succeed in a partnership. Ultimately, every partnership will have its own chemistry and way to operate. Having a partner has many benefits, more pros than cons, in my opinion. Focus on find someone with strengths opposite of yours, but has interest in building the same thing.  Also, rely on respect and dependability to carry and develop the relationship!  Happy hunting!

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