My wife and I have never been to a marriage counselor, but we certainly make it a point to nurture our relationship. Running a company can take a toll on a marriage, and it’s critical that entrepreneurs make time to spend time with their spouses.
But what about your business partner? As it turns out, many of the things we do to nurture personal relationships are also relevant for business partnerships as well. What could a marriage counselor tell you that will help you maintain a strong partnership? Read on!
1. Don’t compare yourself to others
Relationships aren’t one-size-fits-all, and neither are businesses. If you’re looking through a keyhole at other companies and wishing you had their growth or culture, you need to remind yourself that you’re not seeing the whole picture. You’re only seeing the public face of that business, and like your company, there are always difficulties kept behind closed doors. If you and your business partner have struggles, don’t think you’re unique.
2. Learn your partner’s love language
Take a look at Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages and take the time to find out what matters to your partner. Just like it’s hard to understand Swedish if you only speak Chinese, if your partner needs quality time in order to feel appreciated, you’re not going to be successful if you only communicate with words of affirmation. Learn how to best express how much you value your partner, and you’ll be a much more successful communicator.
3. Avoid personal attacks
Every relationship will have its troubles, but when you disagree, the surest way to tank a necessary discussion is by attacking the person, rather than the issue. Even when you have disagreements or have to handle stressful problems, keep your eyes on the goal – running a productive, profitable business. Fight clean, and you’ll have less to apologize for.
4. Say you’re sorry
So even the best among us mess up from time to time. Whether you missed an important deadline or lost your temper, when you’re in the wrong, you must be big enough to own your mistakes.
5. Work to one another’s strengths
One of the best things about having a partner is your ability to divide and conquer. Doing what you love doesn’t even feel like work, and partnering with an ally whose skill set complements yours just makes good business sense.
6. Eliminate distractions
It’s so easy to move through day after day tending to the myriad details that consume your attention, but it’s important to remember to carve out one-on-one time with your partner to make sure you’re both still focused on the same big picture goals. Don’t let your business get in the way of running your business. Aim high in steering.
7. Have some fun!
It’s so easy to get caught up in making money that we can forget why we started our companies in the first place. There’s nothing that can replace shared experiences that create tighter bonds between you and your partner. Take a day off once in a while to enjoy one another’s company.
It can be hard to maintain a healthy and productive relationship with your partner, but just like a marriage, putting in the work pays dividends. Working together with your partner makes you twice as strong. Guard your relationship and invest the time in keeping it on the right track.