When we met some 22 years ago at a fancy black tie fundraiser at the Disneyland Hotel, going into business together was absolutely not on our minds that evening. Now, here we are, 12 years into a blockbuster of an international business. People often ask us how we manage to keep our life partnership and business partnership together without killing each other in the process. Bob says patience, Jim says mutual respect, and we both say a lot of martinis.
Patience, mutual respect, and of course martinis, do help keep things going. But there needs to be a solid understanding of yourself and your partner before you even consider expanding from life partners to becoming business partners as well. Fortunately for us, we had a pretty good idea of what we were all about as individuals. We had been life partners for nearly 10 years before we crossed the great divide into a business life together. Over many, many conversations, we planned how a business together might work with our two strong personalities. Who would do what, who would be the “boss,” how would we keep the professional from creeping into the personal? By the way, keeping the professional out of the personal when your business partner is your life partner is impossible. Remember that.
Before starting a business together, you and your partner should ask yourselves these three things: