Key Things Successful Business Partners Always Do – Episode 59

business partners

In Episode 59 of the Business & Life Conversations Podcast, we are going to talk about Business Partnerships with the amazing women behind The Audacious Agency, Annette Densham and Lauren Clemett. They will be sharing their interesting journey of how they started their partnership. Of course, the benefits, challenges and the key elements to having a partnership and making it work is also something that we talk about in this episode. This will be a treasure chest of information on, not just partnerships but business in general. So you wouldn’t want to miss this.

Important Links Mentioned in the Show:

Business Masterclass – The Ultimate 4-Step Framework for Creating a Sustainable and Profitable Business

The Audacious Agency Website

Rocket Launch Your Business Facebook Group

Australian Business Collaborative Facebook Group

Finding Balance in Business Women’s Retreat

Angela Henderson Website

Angela Henderson Active Business Facebook Group

Angela Henderson Facebook Business Page

Angela Henderson Instagram

Prefer to read Key Things Successful Business Partners Always Do? Here’s the transcript:

ANGELA:

You’re listening to the Business and Life Conversations Podcast with Angela Henderson, Episode 59.

Hey there, you’re listening to the Business and Life Conversations Podcast. My name is Angela Henderson and on this show, we talk about improving your business, life or both. By having amazing and rich conversations with brilliant guests who will inspire you and who will give you tips and tricks to help you grow both in life and in business.

ANGELA:

Well, hey there, and welcome back to another episode of the Business and Life Conversations Podcast. I’m your host Angela, from Angela Henderson Consulting, where I’m a Business Consultant helping women in business to develop the foundational framework and strategy they need to grow sustainable and profitable businesses. And I help these amazing women through my VIP one on one coaching program; my 8-week business group coaching program, Profit Pillars; and I also run Australia’s leading 4-Day, 3-Night Women in Business Retreat. 

Now, I don’t know about you, but typically, when I hear the words business partnerships, I want to run. I cringe because typically business partnerships turn bad; really, really bad. In fact, in my entire time of being in business, I’ve stayed clear of business partnerships for this sole reason: it turns into a shit show. But I will give credit where credit is due and I have seen some business partnerships go really, really well. Remarkably well, in fact. And one of these business partnerships that I’ve seen go so well is with Annette Densham and Lauren Clemett. They have joined forces to create The Audacious Agency. I personally have witnessed their relationship blossom over the years and they continue to go from strength to strength. And I wanted to bring them on the podcast today to share with you that business partnerships can do well, but there are some key elements they’ve had to take in order for this partnership to work out. And today, we’re going to talk about these key elements because some of you listening may want to join forces with someone but just aren’t sure where to start.

But before we jump into this episode, I just want to let you know that this episode is sponsored by my new Business Masterclass, The Ultimate 4-Step Framework for Creating a Sustainable and Profitable Business. In my 60-minute jam-packed masterclass, you’re going to learn about my 4-step signature framework for creating a sustainable and profitable business without sacrificing time with your kids, without the overwhelm, or without wasting any more cash than what you already are. You’re also going to learn the four big business mistakes that everyone in business makes and why they’re keeping you from growing that sustainable and profitable business. And I’m also going to cover in my 60-minute masterclass what is working for businesses now, and why most of what you’re being taught about growing a business is outdated and wrong. 

I would love for you to join me on my demand masterclass. All you have to do is simply head to bit.ly/masterclasswithangelahenderson. So again, bit.ly/masterclasswithangelahenderson and you’ll be able to join my amazing new masterclass, The Ultimate 4-Step Framework for Growing a Sustainable and Profitable Business. I’ll also have this linked in the show notes.

Alright. Let’s jump into this fantastic episode with Annette and Lauren. Welcome to the show Lauren and Annette.

LAUREN:

Hello!

ANNETTE:

Hello Angela. Thank you for having us.

ANGELA:

Well, thank you for being here. As always, I’m so excited to have amazing guests on the show and you guys are two superstars. So thank you for putting some time away in your calendar to be on today.

ANNETTE:

We just did high fives.

ANGELA:

High five through the screens. And you guys actually are together, which is fun, because now, you just moved down to the Gold Coast recently, didn’t you, Annette?

ANNETTE:

I did, within just over six months and it’s awesome.

LAUREN:

Six months already.

ANNETTE:

Yes.

ANGELA:

And then Lauren, how long have you been in the Goldy for you?

LAUREN:

We’ve been here ten years now, which is just gone by in a fletch. I remember coming here, and Kerenza was only just merely starting in primary school. Like ten years, yes amazing what could happen in ten years.

ANGELA:

And listen, the Gold Coast, you really need that kind of sea change, didn’t you, Annette? You really were missing just kind of the ocean, getting out a little bit more. Is that right?

ANNETTE:

[Inaudible 4:24] my husband. We’ve always been beach buddies. Like our whole relationship has been based around some activity on the water and we’re constantly driving down here to go to the beach. And we just got busy and I was like I miss going to the beach.” And I got to the point where I decided to finish school, kids were changing schools, and it’s like, “Let’s do it now.” 

LAUREN

There’s something about being in the water, isn’t there? It’s good for your soul. 

ANNETTE:

Even if I’m busy, the view from my desk is over a light and just calming and just centres me.

ANGELA:

I do agree, Lauren, that there’s something that again, you might not get to the beach every day, but either you’re driving, you see it; you can smell the sea. There is something, I think, that again cleanses the soul, makes soul a little bit happier.

LAUREN:

Yes, I don’t know what it is. I’d like to know, actually at some stage. There’ll be some psychological reason, right? I grew up in the North Shore of Auckland and I was surrounded by beaches and now I do all the sailing and everything else. But there’s something about being on the water or near the water. It’s good for the soul.

ANNETTE:

I think that might have something to do with ground. You know, when you take your shoes off and you stand on grass or sand and just the energy of the planet, I think, just comes through you.

LAUREN:

Soak it up through the soul. 

ANNETTE:

That’s why I kind of [crosstalk/inaudible 5:46]

LAUREN:

She do it once a week.

ANGELA:

And there’ll be a listener out there. So if you are a listener out there that you actually can help Lauren, Annette and I actually figure out why; send me an email. We’d love to know because we’re always about learning. 

Now for us, Lauren, Annette, we’ve known each other for a while, but really have only started to come into each other’s space; I’d say like, getting to see each other on a more regular basis over the last, I’d say, 18 months. You guys were both amazing speakers at my 4-Day, 3-Night Women in Business Retreat last year. Annette, you did my PR pretty much for all of 2018, and you absolutely rocked it. And now, we continue to see each other at regular events, whereas before kind of 18 months ago, we kind of I think crossed paths online. But it’s been really magnificent to see this friendship and this relationship develop over the last 18 months.

ANNETTE:

I agree. So it’s funny, isn’t it? This Facebook world where we’re connected for years and years and years and it’s like you’re following someone like yourself, or say, with Lauren. Like we were friends on Facebook first. And it was like, “You know what? I need to meet that person, in person.”

LAUREN:

Yes. It’s interesting. I think a lot of the time; we’re sort of a little bit star-struck or awestruck by people. And when we get to meet them and realize they’re actually just another normal human being. 

ANNETTE:

And that’s how I felt about you, Angela because I was following you, and go, “This woman is…”

LAUREN:

“That tele chick, she’s awesome.”

ANGELA:

Tele-Canadian eating lady.

ANNETTE

And the feedback that I was hearing about you was like, “Oh my God, she’s like a superstar.” 

LAUREN:

And then we got to meet you and you’re just a person anyway.

ANGELA:

And you’re just that lady with the flip flops walking around. Just like I had a lady yesterday, it was her first call with me. And it was a discovery call. And she was a little bit like; I couldn’t quite figure out why she couldn’t get the words out. She’s like, “I just need a minute.” I was like, “Okay, cool. Are you okay?” And she was just like, “I can’t believe it. I listen to your podcast.” And I’m like literally in my pyjama bottom; she didn’t see that. She only needed to see top-up; I’m in my hoodie. But it’s like, “It’s actually you. It’s you.” And I was like, “It is.” It’s weird how we can perceive things, right? We can get worked up about things but at the end of the day, it’s just another human sitting right across from you.

LAUREN:

And listen to it, isn’t it? Just to reach out and ring someone or talk to them or book a time with them. Don’t be afraid of what you see on Facebook land.

ANNETTE:

How easy is it to show people exactly what you think they want you to see on Facebook. I don’t do that, Angela, you don’t do that. Lauren doesn’t do that.

ANGELA:

Yes. I think none of us; I think we’re pretty straight cookies, the three of us. It’s like, what you see is what you get. 

LAUREN:

[Inaudible 8:19]

ANNETTE:

God, no. There’s just.. got some blood.

ANGELA:

Now, the thing with today’s episode is sometimes, I’m like, “Okay. I don’t know everyone that comes on as my guest.” And the problem to actually face is something different, and that is that today’s episode won’t be about not having enough content but rather us talking too much and I would say getting off track. So I’ve actually come prepared today with notes because I was like, I know the three of us; like when you guys were at my retreat, I think we were in your hotel room. We’re just talking for two hours nonstop, and I was like, “Oh, what time. I got to go.” So today’s episode, I was like, “I’ve got to hone us in.” Because I know the three of us would be able to chat for hours.

Now, I wanted to bring you onboard today because you guys have a wealth of knowledge just about business in general, but in particular, about partnerships. Because for you guys, the reality of it is, is you guys have just formed your new agency together. And I want others to know that partnerships aren’t always bad.

But before we get into the whole partnership dialogue today, I always ask my guests one question. Because I think it’s important that with the listeners out there get to know you for who you are versus just knowing you for your business. 

Now, I know, at my 4-Day, 3-Night Women in Business Retreat, at our celebration party, the two of you were kind of legends on the mic. You’re kind of like the karaoke; you were kind of like the Goddesses of the night. So my first question to you both is, what is your all-time favourite karaoke song?

LAUREN:

I actually hate karaoke.

ANGELA:

Well, you have fooled me then. Because you were absolutely on fire that night.

LAUREN:

The difference is I like cider. Cider overcame the fear of singing in public.

ANNETTE:

My favourite karaoke song, so many to choose from. The one that popped straight into my head was Jolene. Yes, that’s a pretty good one. Islands in the Stream.

ANGELA:

Another good one.

LAUREN:

There’s Dolly Parton.

ANGELA:

Is that a Dolly Parton?

ANNETTE:

Yes.

LAUREN:

Oh, the truth to karaoke song that as long as everybody else really, really, really knows the words even without needing to see them on the screen because they know what to sing as loud and they wouldn’t know when they actually hear it.

ANGELA:

Okay. Got you. So you would go a popular one.

LAUREN:

Yes. Some sort of Billy Joel song or something.

ANNETTE:

[Inaudible 10:46] karaoke one as well. Look, Angela, you give me a microphone, turn the music on and I’ll just (inaudible 10:52)

ANGELA:

Alright. So we know that you love karaoke, Annette. Lauren, not so much. Again, you fooled me. That’s something I found out about you today.

LAUREN:

I’ve always been afraid of it; singing. I’ll speak in public, but just don’t ask me to sing.

ANGELA:

Don’t ask you to sing. Now, for the listeners that don’t know you, because again, my podcast is still relatively new. Tell the listeners; Annette, if you want to start, could you let the listeners know a little bit about your background. And then we’ll go on to Lauren.

ANNETTE:

Yes. Cool. So my background is in Journalism. So I started at fairly 10 year old or 15. [Inaudible 11:26] “Oh my God. This is just what I want to do.” So everything I did from that moment was about forging a career in Journalism. And then when I decided that it wasn’t going to work for me because I got told I was too gregarious, I spent to work into corporate communications in the not for profit space. And it was the most amazing platform and foundation, which improved my skills as a writer. I’ve written speeches and awards and grants and annual reports on websites, anything to do with words. And then, about six years ago, my role was found redundant. And I’m like, “What am I going to do with all the skills I have.” And I started Publicity Genie. So now, [inaudible 12:22] businesses.

ANGELA:

Well, fantastic. And a little bit, and now this is where I guess you guys compliment each other with your skill sets. Tell us a little bit about your side of your skill sets, Lauren.

LAUREN:

So, I’ve come from a background in advertising and marketing and brand management. I worked for advertising agencies in New Zealand for probably 20 something years. So they were big agencies; Saatchi’s, and Clemenger’s, and Ogilvy’s; top agencies. I remember when I was at Saatchi’s, they were on the top team creative advertising agencies in the world.

ANGELA:

How fun is that?

LAUREN:

(Inaudible 12:56) which is very, very cool. He was actually my boss for a number of years. That’s completely another story to talk about. When I moved to Australia, I’d done working corporate as a brand manager and I run my own advertising agency in New Zealand. I moved here and I decided that I don’t want to run a big agency; I decided that it was just too much time required for me; having a young child, and I just want to spend more time with her. And so I started my own consultancy called the Ultimate Business Propellor. The plan was, it was going to be an online advertising agency and I was going to run it from anywhere in the world and, hey, I stayed in the Gold Coast for ten years. It’s a really nice place to stay. So it become an award-winning advertising agency and Annette encouraged me to enter once and we just gone from [inaudible 13:40] all over the world with our personal branding and now, partnering with Annette. It’s really complimentary. Once people know what their brand is, they just want to get it out there. So having Annette getting into publicity and getting into the media is just fantastic.

ANGELA:

So obviously, you guys, you’ve been friends for a while. And again, you guys both have this wonderful skillset, each of you. So what was it, that you’re like; what was the aha moment. What was the, “We got to do this. Let’s jump in.” Why did you guys decide to become business partners and create the new agency?

[Inaudible 14:17]

ANNETTE

I think it was; I was referring people to Lauren. She was referring people to me. But what I was finding is that people were coming to me and they weren’t ready. They didn’t understand what they have; they didn’t understand their brand, they didn’t understand their brand story, they didn’t understand who their type of audience is. And then they come to me and they’re expecting me to create magic for them. And it was like, I’m doing all of this work to help them get their branding right. And I was like, “Oh God. This isn’t my thing. This is taking a lot of time.” And then, their expectations are that I’m going to lay this magic wand. So I just started referring to Lauren. And we decided talking. And it was like, and then we did the awards…

LAUREN:

The Award-Winning Lunch. Yes. And Annette asked me ages ago, years ago, you should just assume that the mere that I’d already won awards because I’ve been with this amazing agencies. And I had because I thought awards were a big boost. So, she said to me, “No. Let’s try it out.” So she encouraged me into the Stevie Awards, which I did, and I won a silver for my business and my approach, neurobranding, what I was doing for small business. Basically making big advertising agencies know services and knowledge of a small business. And I said, “This is pretty awesome. It’s actually given me a lot of confidence and knowledge and I can keep doing what I’m doing. I didn’t expect to feel this way and we need to tell more people about this.” So we held the Award Winning Lunch. And 120 people came. And we were like, “Holy rap. This is pretty awesome.” And it just really went from there. And it’s been really organic. I don’t think there’s never been like a, “Oh my God, let’s start an agency together.” It’s just a no-brainer, that’s what made it happen.

ANNETTE:

We looked at Lauren does branding, and I do PR. Underneath both of those [inaudible 16:18] was awards and storytelling. We were already doing the awards thing together so it was like towards the end of June, we went, “Why don’t we combine forces because this might be an easy out for both of us in the long run.” When we’ve started the partnership, we’ve got hurdles to overcome and challenges, learning how we combine all of this, and I think the real key is that we not hurried it, is that we know that we’ve got to put things into place and that it’ll take time. So that when we really go, bang! All of our little ducks were in a row.

LAUREN:

Yes, absolutely. I think the thing, Angela, is Annette is right. It’s about leading it organically; doing what needs to be done. We’re not trying to force a partnership to happen. The big thing I think is that, if you’re confused about what to do and how we work and all these, then your plans are going to be even more confused. So they have a really single-minded brand for people that engage with them to make it understandable for people on what we do. We hate to combine it.

ANGELA:

And that makes sense, too, because again like you said, it’s complimentary from each other and then again, you guys were able to speak, and I guess, help more people from the point that, you’re not just helping them in a pocket of it, you can see I guess the holistic view to their business and go, “Okay, great. We can, this piece is missing, this piece is missing. But you don’t have to go to a million different people because we can do that for you collectively.”

LAUREN:

Yes, it streamlines it so much. 

ANGELA:

And since becoming, I guess, formalizing it a bit more and having that organic growth that has happened with it, what are some of the benefits that you guys have found with becoming business partners?

ANNETTE:

This just happened 30 minutes ago. So we’re both still working our separate businesses and we’re slowly getting to merge them together. So something happened in Publicity Genie today; totally stressed me out. I’ve messaged Lauren, “No, I can’t do this today. I’m just too busy.” And Lauren’s got back to me, and she said, “No, I’m coming over. Let’s talk now.” So instead of sitting here; I probably would have cried, I laid it out with, “This is my challenge. I don’t know what to do.” And we talked about it. Because in the contract says that even though Publicity Genie still running on the side separately, it’s going to be the Audacious Agency. So it impacts Lauren in the long run. So the benefit is, is that I’m not alone anymore. I don’t have to share the load by myself. I’ve got someone who’s experienced and qualified and credible and has an awesome reputation that I can go, “Hey, I need to tap into that because [inaudible 19:23].”

ANGELA:

Yes. Fantastic. And what are your thoughts about the benefits of becoming business partners, Lauren?

LAUREN:

Well, it’s interesting actually, Angela, I think Annette is thinking, “My God. She thinks I’m an expert,” which is awesome. But yet, there was the same one, with a large company that I’ve had a history with for a long time, an awesome company. And there were 5 originators of the company and they all got together and they started the business for something going for something like 35 years. And something went up and I got to meet these guys and they were, “We didn’t all decide to quit on the same day. That’s the only reason why the business just keeps going is because we didn’t all decide “I’ve had enough” on the same day. Yes, I could decide “I’ve had enough” but my business partner is not [inaudible 20:12] to do that. So I think Annette probably could have got to the same solution to her problem on her own, but it would have been harder, more lonely, more frustrating, and in reality, often businesses had. It’s stressful, it’s frustrating, can really be depressing as long as it’s accelerating. Take somebody else either on the roller coaster with you or at least at the bottom waiting to hug you afterwards and go, “It’s going to be okay.” I’d put money on that sort of support and some [inaudible 20:46].

ANGELA:

And I think in a world, where again, I talk about it all the time, in a relationship, like people are missing out on that human to human contact, right? People are quite happy to be sitting at home, and there’s a place for that. But I also think there’s a place for human connection. And I think, again, just being able to go back to some of those old school basics, back in the days when you actually were able to connect with your friends, your family; whatever that looks like, when people weren’t busy. The fact that you were able; you’re going to pop over for the podcast, but the fact that you’re like, “No, let’s go over it, let’s chat about it,” I think people can be quite distant. Sometimes you might reach out and they’re like, “No. I’m busy.” But I think the fact that again, I’m assuming as being business partners, that you guys are able to just be in the moment, support each other when necessary and that emotional support is going to help you guys grow not only financially, but internally, I would imagine.

LAUREN:

Yes, absolutely. It’s all about those relationships, and it’s odd because we just seem to always be on the same page.

ANNETTE:

[Inaudible 21:45] And the really good thing is because Lauren and I are same but different is that we could talk to each other and just; there’s no feelings hurt, there’s no misunderstandings, we know that we can be honest with each other and we know that we’ve got each other’s backs, so I’m assuming that could be rare partnerships.

ANGELA:

And I guess that probably goes back to what you said, I think, Lauren, earlier, about the organic growth and how this has ruled out, right? That you guys, over time, have been able to understand each other a bit more, know each other’s kind of push points, know each other’s pull points, you could say; and through that again, that support of nature. Whereas, if you would have just rushed into it, you may have set yourself up. Because you’re like, “Oh, I don’t know that about you, Lauren,” or “Oh, I don’t know about you that, Annette.” But because you guys were allowed to unfold this organically, and it hasn’t been rushed, you guys have kind of figured each other’s good points, bad points and how to work through those out.

LAUREN:

Yes. And I don’t think it’s always the case that business partners need to be best friends and buddies always wanting to live in each other’s life. So I don’t think; I mean, sometimes that works, I don’t think it will work for us. I don’t think it’s helpful and I don’t think it’s very healthy. You need to have your own things that you like and don’t like in your own lives. But I do think that you really have a clear idea of expectations and as you said, if you want to work organically, that you don’t feel like you’re having to push each other, you have to be friends. You have to have; what was it, I played golf for so many years and someone said [inaudible 23:20] to work with somebody as to play golf with them. [inaudible 23:25] how they deal with it like they throw the clubs, whatever. They don’t care for each other [inaudible 23:33] or whatever. Is it something that you’re going to like about them or is it something that’s going to drive you insane? So those things are important with me before you partner with them, and that probably, actually definitely is the reason why at my previous business partnership were awful and fell through and cost us a lot of money and ended particularly badly. We just didn’t take the time to get to know them.

ANNETTE:

We’ve travelled together.

LAUREN:

Yes. Absolutely. Travel together and we stay at the same hotel room together.

ANNETTE:

And look after a group of people together [inaudible 24:08] running retreats it was optimum for not just what you’re delivering into the business-wise but emotionally you’re dealing with all of the other things as well. We done the trip to New York. And there’s moments in there where it’s like, you’re tired and you’re stressed [crosstalk/inaudible 24:29]. One day we were in New York and Lauren just said something to me, and I was like, [inaudible 24:36] “Oh, my God. That is so awesome.” I can have a meltdown [inaudible 24:44] I have to tiptoe around.

LAUREN:

Exactly.

ANGELA:

So we’ve talked a lot about some of those benefits, but what do you think have been some of the challenges?

LAUREN:

One of the challenges and I heard this from someone just this morning, I had a call with them. And they talked about how awesome it was to have a business partner who had [inaudible 25:05] where she had weaknesses, and she had, they both complimented each other because they were both really good at certain things. I think Annette and I are really good at very similar things and we hate admin and we really [inaudible 25:16] messing around. And we don’t do the math, particularly, I hate doing books and finances and sending out autoresponders. I never make myself learn how to do that and force myself to like it. So I think both of us have that; the biggest issue we’ve got in business is that we both, we’re going to need a lot of people mapping up after us, [inaudible 25:36]. And we don’t have that ability to go, “Oh, my business partner is good at doing the books.”

ANNETTE:

Yes. And we just look at each other and go, “Did you do that?” And she goes, [inaudible 25:48] We’re getting help to do that because we both know that we’re both really bad at it. So, I agree with Lauren. That’s the biggest challenges that we probably should have…

LAUREN:

Two creative people working together. We’re more disastrous.

[Inaudible 26:13]

ANGELA:

Okay, we’re done. Sign it up. For those listening out there, I know you’ve talked about it, and they went, “Oh, okay. Well, business partnerships, I don’t really know, back and forth.” Can you share with us some of those top key things that you think successful business players or partners always do? Like, obviously, you talked about some of them, right? Like, so spend time with each other. You’re talking about systems, even though it’s not in place right now, but you’ve identified that in order to be successful business partners, that you’re going to need some systems in place. What are some of the other key elements that you think you’re going to need to happen in order for this partnership to continue working out well?

LAUREN:

Number 1, I think, is set clear expectations. You need to be really clear with your business partner or partners of what you expect them to do and each of you to be good at, what you expect the tasks to be, and just be really clear up on what you expect to get out of partnership. Just have a meeting with everybody and just put it on the table and go, “This is what I expect out of the partnership.” If people don’t like that, can we work around it, if this partnership is actually going to work or not. Just get really clear and it’s pointless to try to bluff your way through and have a great meeting and then [inaudible 27:35] because you don’t like your business partner.

ANNETTE:

Let me segue into that. Communication is that be comfortable with having straight and direct conversations. Communicate regularly, whether it’s face to face or through email. Lauren and I are always emailing backwards and forwards, she’s better answering; Facebook messages, text messages. We always kind of know what each other is up to. Although I probably [inaudible 28:13] what she does. I think that’s really important that we can talk to each other and understand where each other’s at.

LAUREN:

Yes. And we have a weekly progress meeting. And we set it for a certain time but most of the time we didn’t make that certain time but at least there’s one point in the week where we go, “Okay, so what’s going on? What’s happened in your world? What can I help with? What do I need this week from you the most? Is there a deadline we’ve got coming up that we need to talk about?” So we have at least one time within the week where we do that. 

ANGELA:

Yes. So, again, that’s ongoing. And again, and I know, another one of the podcast that I interviewed, with Christian, from America, he was talking about the three primary systems that you need in order for business growth from that kind of five to six-figure, six to seven-figure type thing. And he talks about the importance of a weekly meeting. He said the primary thing that he introduces to any business that he first starts working with, and he said it’s the biggest change agent that he sees is when those weekly meetings occur.

LAUREN:

Yes.

ANNETTE:

We should be more dedicated here. 

LAUREN:

[Inaudible 29:18] one of our agencies in New Zealand, we used to have a daily production meeting. And it would go for, I think it was, [inaudible 29:25] and he would go around team and each one of them would say, “What’s the thing they need to get done today and what’s the biggest thing that’s standing in their way? What can somebody do to help them?” And that was it. [inaudible 29:36] in the business. So yes, those things are important, and we use the tools as well, we use the Asana, Acuity, and Active Campaign. Why don’t we start with A’s? 

ANNETTE:

Because we’re that audacious.

LAUREN:

So we use all our systems to make sure that we can track what’s going on and making sure that each of us can see each other’s task. There’s nothing like meeting face to face.

ANNETTE:

Finance task today.

LAUREN:

I’m changing name obviously. 

ANNETTE:

[Inaudible 30:05]

ANGELA:

I’m part of the team, the As are going around. So again, so really, for those that are listening out there, you would say some of the key things that successful business partners need to consider is again clear expectations from the beginning, regular communications, looking at the systems and tools that are going to be necessary to run that agency together efficiently. You also talked about the vital skills that each of you have; so you guys both bring certain skill sets. You’ve also equally looked at what skill sets are missing in order to be able to show that that’s not going to have a big impact to your business, collectively. 

I’d like to talk to you a little bit about, what the hard talks about money, right? No one likes to talk about money. And I don’t expect you to talk about your numbers. But obviously, I can only assume that at some stage, some of the key things that need to be done for this to be successful is also talk about expectations around money.

LAUREN:

Yes. Absolutely.

ANNETTE:

We had a few conversations about that. We are really open and talk about how we plan to combine what we’re doing and what that looks like as a dollar figure. That’s a work in progress. 

LAUREN:

It is. One of the examples or it’s a great exercise is we both individually sit down and write the business plan for Audacious Agency. So we didn’t come to the table and go, “Hey, this is what I want to do with the business.” And I think that’s important, getting back to expectations, “Do you want to grow our business to a point that it gets sold and then four-years’ time you retire and go and live in Fiji? Do you want to grow it as a franchise and have offices around the world?” Because if one of the partners has got an idea on what they want to do [inaudible 31:39] and it’s nothing like the big audacious goal that the other partners’ got. You need to be clear on that. I never want to have an office. I don’t even want to have an Audacious Agency physical office. I can’t see the point to that. I’d much rather be travelling. And if I haven’t told Annette that that’s my plan, what’s the point in getting into business with somebody? Eventually, money’s going to come and spend it on.

ANNETTE:

And I think that goes back to the question before is we both [inaudible 32:08] of what we don’t want, and what we don’t want to do and where we don’t want to be going. I think it is equally as important as what you do want. Just like when I ask my family, “What do you want for dinner,” and then they will tell me all the things that they don’t want. 

LAUREN:

Give us a chance to do something.

ANNETTE:

So be really clear on that. So in terms of; we both want to have a business where we can travel. And that we’re earning enough money but we could accommodate that and pay people to do the work that needs to be done while strolling around Thailand.

LAUREN:

Yes. Exactly. The other thing, Angela is, this is one of the biggest benefits of partnering up with somebody is sharing the costs for all of the systems and processes and subscriptions that you have. Just this morning, how much acuity costs, how much [inaudible 33:03] costs. If you can combine together, then having those costs; because at the moment our businesses have both of those, so how do you find a way of saving money at the same time by combining them. 

ANGELA:

And that’s a really great point. Because again, subscriptions, it might only seem like $20 here, $10 here. But if you’re genuinely are looking at your accounting every month, or every quarter, at the profit and losses, and you look at that, that actually adds up. Like fairly quickly. Like you input your CRM. Like, I just moved over to ActiveCampaign and even though they’re a great platform, ConvertKit pretty much had everything I needed to do. But now I’m paying almost like $600 Aussie a month to have that. And it’s just like, “Oh my goodness. I have to make X amount of sales or charge this,” or whatever just to pay for that one overhead. And I think it’s ridiculous where, again, yes, great point to bring up that one of the benefits of having a business partnership is that again you’re going to reduce those overhead costs quite substantially, I would suspect.

LAUREN:

Yes. And one other thing I’d like to add aside from a finance point of view, a check that I got with another partnership that I’ve got into in a different business, and this is around Amazon selling, we’ve decided to choose an independent accountant. So if you’re looking at a partnership and we’ve previously had partnerships in the past and the partner’s accountant is the person that we use, I’d never ever do that again. You should insist that you have an independent accountant for your partnership business. So it just takes out the issue around the fact that if you’ve got someone’s existing accountant, they’ve got a history, they’ve known each other, it’s always one-sided. 

ANNETTE:

That’s okay we can do that. Yes. [Inaudible 34:45]

ANGELA:

And again, from there, it’s like that partnership is starting from scratch, I guess, and that both parties are on the same page. No one knows anyone’s story, you’re going to go in there together and you’re going to build that up together.

ANNETTE:

Definitely. Just keeps it really clear. I mean, there’s always a way, you don’t want to talk about it but you need to talk about the rules. When you’re getting married, you need to actually talk about the rules. 

ANGELA:

Yes.

ANNETTE:

And you can say, “Okay, if this doesn’t work out and I want to go, how are we going to be splitting things back up again?” And having an accountant is a really easy way to manage it.

ANGELA:

And I guess that we go back to some of those primary things that has come down really to effective communication and the willingness to have these tough conversations about money, tough conversations about if we do need to break up, tough conversations about, “Okay, you’re good at this, but you’re not good at this.” Like again, these are all really quite tough conversations and for someone who might not have a tough skin per se, I guess, for me, those would be the things that you can’t have these conversations. I can only assume, I haven’t been in partnership. Do you kind of have to go, maybe it’s not the right time? Because you really have to be open and honest about all of these areas of this business partnership. Because if you only want to talk about someone of the other, then that pattern will probably continue to happen for at the business. “Oh, I’ll talk to you about this, Lauren. But I don’t want to talk to you about this.” Like it’s going to be a constant communication struggle. 

LAUREN:

Absolutely. I think women find it harder for some reason. I’ve seen it like in business partnerships. I’ve seen it on a golf course, they have business agreements, and they have falling out in business, and they’ll still go out and play golf together. It’s not about, “I want to be free with you, and it’s all going to be, full of rainbows and ice cream and fairy tales.” You have to divide your friendship between what you like about that person and working with them and actually running your business. It’s not because I’ve got a compartmentalized brain, but I can do business with complete [inaudible 36:42].

ANGELA:

And forget like nothing happened. Just like, yes.

[Inaudible 36:47]

ANNETTE:

That’s where the agreement comes in, too. Is that, we’re looking at what’s the best-case scenario and what’s the worst-case scenario. What happens if in two-years’ time I hate your guts? But you’ve got to put all of those in place, so I think it strips the emotion out of it so that you can look at and go, “Okay, we’re not getting along. This isn’t working. Here’s what’s I didn’t see in our agreement and these are the steps that we need to take.” But you’re right Angela, if you feel things really can’t, is that maybe you’re best off working for yourself or getting a job.

ANGELA:

Yes. 100%. And sometimes, I think we forget that sometimes business might not be working out, right? And that sometimes, getting a job might be the better option for your family. And that’s okay. There’s no wrong or right way. But sometimes I think we forget that that’s still an option. 

ANNETTE:

Yes. I tell myself if my business doesn’t work and I’m a complete failure, instead of looking at it like “okay I want you to learn and how can I take that on to my next job” because it just makes you a better person.

ANGELA:

And everything, there’s lessons to learn. Every day we’re continuing to learn lessons about this, that, and the other. Now for those out there, obviously, I’m going to assume this answer. But based on what we’ve talked about, obviously, you guys would also say that business partners aren’t for everyone.

LAUREN:

Totally. Absolutely. I mean we all struggle, both of us struggle with, “Is this right? Should we work together?” We have our moments where we go, “Oh my God, I think I should be doing this on my own.” I think it’s going to cut down to that instance, if you’re not a team player, if you’re not able to hear first-hand conversations, that feeling like you’re being judged, if you really struggle with being open to the point of bluntness with people without taking them on emotionally, then yes, you’re either not quite ready for it or it’s just not the right way to do it. And there’s other ways to plan that. You can still grow your business like outsourcing, like open up a franchise, like selling licenses, creating online programs that you can sell to people all around the world rather than just doing it one ttime as a coach or mentoring. Run your business in some different ways other than partnering with people. I think you’ve got to recap why you’re partnering.

ANNETTE:

I’ve been in business for 6 years and this is the first time I ever considered a partnership. I’ve thought about it, I’ve wanted to do it because I knew that as, there’s so many people out there offering little pieces of the marketing puzzle. And as a small business, you can only afford to work with so many people. And I wanted to be able to offer people a little bit more than what I could without selling them and [inaudible 40:03] to pay for it.

ANGELA:

Yes.

ANNETTE:

So like you said, it’s been organic, as Lauren put it, I think it’s because we’re both kind of looking for, how can we continue to add value to that type of audience.

LAUREN:

Yes. Absolutely. I think the big sign for me, and it was funny, I was part of a mastermind group and it wasn’t with Anette. It was with other business women who were amazing and I was telling these things about, “Should I partner or shouldn’t I?” And I was getting this advice and as we were talking about it, I said, “The biggest problem is right now with my business on my own is, I feel like people get in with my process and they fall off the cliff. Because I can’t offer them anymore. Now I’ve got to just say ‘Here’s a referral,’ and it’s not a proper hand over process.” I’m going to ask them properly without the person [inaudible 40:49] that we’ve set up. And these mentors that I was working with said, “No, no, Lauren. They’re not falling off the cliff. You’re pushing them off the cliff.” You need to get out there and work out how you’re going to help people, get to that point in their journey and then pass them on to somebody else. [inaudible 41:05]

ANGELA:

And I think that is super important, because like, even I know, again, no one will ever stay with you forever. Like that’s just the way, you don’t want any clients to stay with you forever. They’re going to grow, there’s going to be new things in their business and they need to see new people. But again, you want to, as you said, make sure that they’ve got those tools and resources to be able to go on to that grow stage skill phase, whatever it is, based on their wonderful expertise that you’ve been able to help them with. 

LAUREN:

Yes. Absolutely. You mentioned on the side, what it is you want to be doing with your time in business and how can you affiliate with people that makes it.

ANGELA:

Makes perfect sense. Now for those listeners that are out there and are like, “Alright. I want a little bit more of Lauren, a little bit more of Annette, where can they find you, ladies?

LAUREN:

That’s easy. You can go to theaudaciousagency.com. We actually it The Audacious Agency. You can find us on Facebook because we’ve got an awesome group, a couple of thousand global entrepreneurs in there from around the world doing amazing things. It’s called Rocket Launch Your Business on Facebook and you can jump into that group. Annette and I are in there, doing Facebook lives and sharing tools and training and loads of collaboration opportunities on there as well.

ANGELA:

Well, fantastic ladies. As always, it is a pleasure to again spend some time with you even if it isn’t face-to-face. I appreciate you both more than you know. I hope you have a fantastic day.  And for the rest of the listeners that are out there, please remember that my team and I will also be putting together the whole transcription for this episode at angelahenderson.com.au. And of course, I cover all sorts of related business and life topics inside my Facebook group, The Australian Business Collaborative, so head on over. And for the rest of you, have a fantastic day. And I look forward to you joining me for another episode of Business and Life Conversation next week. Have a great day.

ANNETTE:

Thanks, Angela.

LAUREN:

Bye.

ANNETTE:

Bye.

ANGELA:

Thanks for listening to the Business and Life Conversations Podcast with Angela Henderson, Business Partners. www.angelahenderson.com.au 


Angel Henderson Consulting

​​Founder of the highly successful online store Finlee and Me, Angela taps into the decade's worth of knowledge of how to grow a thriving enterprise and pours it into her business consulting clients. As a business consultant, she partners with start up and small businesses to grow their brands through hands on support, ensuring foundations are laid in order to leverage growth. Her skills were honed at the helm of Finlee and Me, where she learned everything from branding, PR, sales funnels, email marketing, website, copy, SEO and more. She knows what it truly takes to have a strong brand, consistence sales, steady growth and over all dedication. Angela has been featured in the media including Talking Lifestyle with Ed Phillips and David Koch, Inside Small Business and on numerous Australia and International podcasts.

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