Partnerships… not always easy!

August 19, 2010Post by Laura Humphreys

Had a great time speaking at the Her Business Network meeting in Tauranga last night. I’m always amazed at the commitment of business women around the Country. There was a strangely high percentage of solo mum entrepreneurs there (naturally I felt a sense of kindred spirit in the room) and I was fortunate that a few of them took me out to dinner after the talk. There’s nothing quite like business women chatting together over a glass of wine about the challenges they face both in business and in life – juggling motherhood and commitments, with a growing family and growing business.

We all listened intently to one woman who shared her key issue in business at the moment. My talk about creating an exit strategy for your business had really struck a chord with her and she wanted to know how she could build a business to sell when her business partner wasn’t the the same mind space. It turns out her business partner is quite a bit younger than her (20 years younger), with a young family and an aggressive need to grow the business, but in no hurry to put a time frame around that. Whilst our friend is hitting 60 and wanting the think about retirement. As business partners they have complementary strengths and skills, and there is a lot going for them as a partnership. But the lack of shared vision is causing some stress on the relationship. In addition her business partner is a male and from the sound of it feeling the pressures of supporting his family, wanting to drive expansion through investment in premises and employing people. Whilst our friend is of a very quiet, organised, efficient and more cautious nature feeling anxious about what such a move might do to her current income.

We talked about it at length and I think we came up with some good advice. I’ll share in my next blog. In the meantime, what advice would you offer? And what are the lessons here for other business partnerships?