Business partners can be friends


WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — Good business partnerships can lead to great things, whether it’s Ben and Jerry dishing up ice cream or Penn and Teller dishing up magic.

But sometimes partners aren’t well matched. Their personalities fail to mesh, their differing visions lead to a clash of wills and what seemed like a good idea at the beginning disintegrates quickly in a flurry of angry words and ill will.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. A business partnership — like any relationship — can thrive if the right ingredients are in place.

“You can be friends and business partners at the same time,” says writer Gail Harris, of Framingham, Massachusetts, whose latest project involved a partnership that brought difficult, but not insurmountable, challenges.

Harris is co-author with Brandi Rarus, of Austin, Texas, of the book, “Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman’s Story of Identity, Love and Adoption.” The book tells the story of how Rarus, who became deaf at 6, faced the challenges of her disability and later adopted a daughter who also is deaf.

About five years passed from the time they began working on “Finding Zoe” to the day the book was published.

Every moment was not smooth, and there were disagreements along the way, but eventually they made their shared dream a reality. Harris and Rarus offer a few tips on what makes a partnership work.

• Communicate. Communication was a challenge at times for Rarus and Harris because they couldn’t hash things out in a quick phone call the way many people might.

• Be committed. Both people must be committed to the end goal. It doesn’t work if one person is passionate and the other lukewarm. The two co-authors of “Finding Zoe” early on had to work out some differences about just what the end goal was.

• Avoid being judgmental. You need to put yourself in the other person’s’ shoes — in this case your partner’s — and try to understand what he is going through or where he is coming from. Having opposing ideas about how some things should be handled is inevitable, and can spark even better solutions. What’s important is to be respectful as you work through disputes.

This article was submitted by News and Experts.