30 August 2017
Every good business is built on a partnership.
Whilst Sir Richard Branson is the public face of the Virgin brand, his wife Joan is an unspoken force behind the family and business. Brothers Walt and Roy founded Disney. My great friend Tim Bacon and his business partner Jeremy Roberts built Living Ventures to the leisure behemoth it is today. Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane are the pair behind the eCommerce giant Boohoo. And of course, my wife Gail and I founded and run UKFast .
You might not even realise that a partner is there, but behind the scenes there is always someone supporting the other.
Why does a partnership work?
Why do partnerships work? Because a person needs balance. We see that the really successful businesses are run by these incredible partnerships, where one person brings the driving force and the other is the organiser. We need that for a business to work. No one person can bring everything a business needs. We might not know that the person is there because often they are the more camera shy half of the partnership.
Of course, it’s complicated to have your husband or wife as your business partner. I can imagine many business partners would find it difficult to live with each other. But, because of mine and Gail’s personalities, we complement each other. Gail is calm and organised whereas I am incredibly goal-driven and creative. We both help to balance each other out and bring different strengths to the business.
How do you switch off?
Invariably, there’s a danger that if you do work with your partner you could struggle to switch off from work. For me that comes down to scheduling. My schedule ensures that I keep on track. Without exception, we have date night on Tuesdays and Fridays. Often we are surrounded by documents and use it as an opportunity to find out what the other person has been doing and to make decisions together. I would never make a big decision without Gail’s contribution. Whilst very often we take work to the restaurant, it is still time away from the office, from the hubbub. I also have two mornings a week at least when I play squash and Gail has her own activities. You know what they say; absence makes the heart grow fonder!
Ultimately, choosing your business partner has to be the most important decisions you will ever make in business.