AMERICAN oil magnate John D. Rockefeller said: “A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.” And there are countless stories of business partnerships going bad. Steve Jobs famously teamed up with John Sculley only to be fired by him two years later (pictured right). Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s falling out with his partners is so well known they made a film about it. Some clearly do work out though. We asked five successful pairings what makes it work for them.
1. LAUGH AT THE MISTAKES
Hayley Sudbury, co-founder of The Tasting Sessions, says her relationship with Angella Newell is pretty rare: “We are best friends and business partners. I think the secret to our success is to have a drink and laugh when things go wrong.”
Redington’s co-founder Robert Gardner says that his relationship with his co-founder is just like marriage: “It’s all about trust. If that’s broken between the two of you, then things break down.”
Eric Partaker, co-founder of the Mexican chain Chilango, says that success is built on “alignment of vision.” You are asking for trouble if you need to negotiate your way through every decision, he warns.
Barry Ferdinand and Jason Collins from the print solutions company Apogee say that it is motivation that holds them together. “We worked with people in the past who didn’t have the same work ethic as us. It didn’t work out,” says Ferdinand.
Michael Hayman and Nick Giles who run the PR agency Seven Hills say their business needs their differences to survive. “It works because we are not the mirror image of each other. We have different skills, outlooks and passions and this creates the dynamic that works,” says Giles.