Beth and I are often asked how our working relationship affects our friendship. We were friends for over eight years before we became business partners. I feel that working together has made us better friends. What has allowed this to happen is all the work we put in before we started working together.
When we were exploring the possibility of forming a partnership, we had extensive conversations about how we envisioned the business working and growing. We talked about our skills and our fears-what were we good at, what scared us, what could Beth never count on me to do (cold calls-shudder). After all the talking was done, we committed all this information to paper. We have a very detailed operating agreement.
Last week, a situation arose in our business that we had a difference of opinion over how to handle. We exchanged several emails on the subject and gathered all the information we needed to make a decision. Then we followed the terms of our operating agreement: we talked in person. It is so easy to have misunderstandings when communicating via email. We were able to reach a compromise we both felt comfortable with and this difficult situation did not impact our working relationship or our friendship.
The moral of this story: Most businesses put a good deal of time and money into creating operating agreements and business plans. Use them! Any other good stories out there about using your business plan or operating agreement to solve problems? Let us know.