There can be many different reasons why we form business partnerships. Here a just a few:

  • When starting a business, we lack the finances to go it alone.
  • There’s too much for one person to do. Let’s spread the workload.
  • We lack self-confidence, something our potential partner never seems short of.
  • We’ve been friends since forever, and working together seemed like a great idea at the time.

Maybe the partnership is working well. You’re kicking goals, you’re positive about the business and your working relationship. But maybe, just maybe, it feels like something’s out of kilter. The reason could be any of these:

  • Different life stages—maybe one partner is contemplating retirement, while the other is in full-bore expansion mode.
  • Different visions—maybe one partner sees the business as exploiting a very specific niche, while the other sees an opportunity to tackle multiple markets at once.
  • Different personalities—maybe one partner is an extravert who finds it hard to focus on the small things, while the other is more introverted, and a closeted control freak.
  • Different levels of investment—maybe one partner has only a minor financial stake in the business, but demands equal voting rights.

In such cases, it’s time to look at your business partnership with fresh eyes. Is it still meeting the needs of both or all the partners? If not, you know what you need to do…

Show your love

My wife and her friends love their cars. They take pride in their appearance, just as they take pride in the way they dress themselves, do their hair and their makeup. If they’re meeting for lunch, none of them are going to turn up in a beaten-up and dirty vehicle.

They’re not car nuts, though. They don’t know much about mechanics. So taking the car in for a regular service requires a leap of faith. Just about every woman I know has a negative story about car dealers or repairers. Being overlooked in favour of their husband or boyfriend, or having a mechanic speak to them in a condescending way. You’ve heard these tales, too.

These days, this is less likely to happen—but bad memories can linger. If you show many women—and a lot of men—an invoice with a long list of repair items, their eyes glaze over. They just want to settle the bill, and be on their way.

I know that when you’re working on a customer’s car, you’re doing all you can to ensure a safe and reliable ride. Your love is evident in the quality of your work. But it’s all hidden under that shiny sheet metal. So before your customer comes to retrieve their car, show your love. Make sure you haven’t marked the interior. Send the apprentice out with a hose and some detergent. Nothing tells a customer you care as much as a sparkling clean car waiting for them in the parking lot.