We All Need a Partner
Jason Blumer proves that you don’t need to be all buttoned-up to be a skilled CPA. I like that he calls me “dude.” His firm, Blumer CPAs, handles the taxes and accounting for our marketing agency, and he and his team do an awesome job. Jason was one of the people who inspired Heather and I to transform our agency into a virtual one – he runs his firm virtually from beautiful Greenville, South Carolina (a town not unlike Traverse City in terms of culture and creativity). We’re thrilled to share Jason’s insights about the importance of surrounding yourself and partnering with people that help you grow in business and in life. It’s been said that people are the sum total of the five people they choose to surround themselves with. Choose wisely.
I’m coming up on one year of having a new partner in my virtual CPA firm, Blumer CPAs. As you can imagine, I was warned not to do this. I’ve heard many stories about how partnerships fail. In fact, I’ve helped clients work through the nightmare of separating partnerships. It is a mess, and can truly devastate someone’s life. No wonder people warned me against adding a partner to my firm.
I’ve found adding a partner to my business is much like a marriage. And, now that I think about it, people warned me against getting married too. They had heard stories of broken marriages, people cheating on each other, and angry divorces. I guess they thought they needed to warn me.
It’s true – partnerships and marriages are hard. But stories of failure are not the only stories out there. There are stories of successful partnerships. In fact, if you can be one of the few people to have a successful business partnership, then you will have achieved something most can’t, and have an automatic advantage over most other business arrangements. You’ll have the advantage because we all need a partner.
What makes me think we all need a partner?
Smart, dedicated humans improve one another. Two dedicated, smart minds are always better than one person trying to figure out their business on their own. I’m not even saying you need to get a partner. I’m just pointing out that you can’t know everything there is to know about the complexities of running your business. Surely you agree with that. Since you can’t know everything, it makes sense that two minds are better than one. Maybe you need a therapist, or a business coach. Both would be helpful. Whatever you do, add another mind to your ideas and see what happens. Further, add a dedicated mind to your team (meaning one that is fully dedicated to your endeavors like a partner) and you will do things other can not.
How can you find the right partner?
Look for someone you can commit to long term, not the person that is perfect for your business. We all read the stories of successful partnerships and happy marriages, and then embark on a journey to find the perfect person for our business or life. Let me tell you – there is no right person. The “________ of your dreams” does not exist (and you won’t be the “________ of their dreams” either). The world is only full of messy people. But you can be successful in a relationship with them when you are ready to make a long term commitment to them. Here is the commitment you have to give to the person you are entering into a partnership with: “no matter what, I will work with you to figure you out, and continue to explain myself as many times as it takes to get the benefits out of our relationship that I know will only come from working together for a long period of time.” It’s a long commitment, but it is the necessary vow you must make to get the benefits of a long relationship.
What is the importance of a long term relationship?
The benefits come later. As those who have been in a long term relationship know, the greatest benefits to a deep relationship come much later. I’ve known many people who have been married for a long time (20 years or more), and they know that a lot of the benefits of the relationship come later. Many of these same relationships went through some rocky times. But they survived and were stronger because of their long term commitment. After dealing with the shell shock of how much you are not compatible with your partner, you begin to work on what all relationships need: deep commitment. My wife and my business partner know that the arrangements I have with them are forever. I’ve been married now for 23 years, and have had a business partner for almost 1 year. I’m seeing the flow and ease of a relationship in my marriage, and it is a huge benefit to my wife and I. In my business, my partner and I are still working through how we communicate, what we mean by certain words we use, and the confusion that we cause. But the real benefits will come later when we can make complex growth moves in a matter of seconds, or know if a new potential hire is a candidate for our firm without even talking about it.
In conclusion, let me be clear that I am not trying to convince you to get a partner. But I am trying to let you know that if you do get a partner, and can commit to them long term, then you will have an advantage over others who do not have the guts to do it. Still, I think we all need a partner. We all have blind spots we can’t see, and we become stronger people, in business and life, when we let other people shape us into stronger, wiser people.