The Secret to a Successful Partnership

The Secret to a Successful Partnership

What you need to know before you sign on the dotted line.

By Leith Wilson | 24th May 2016

Business partnerships are a lot like marriage: they’re a lot of hard work, some end amicably and for others the split is brutal. But the partners behind Department Group and Twice Blessed seem set to stay together in sickness and in health.

Tom Sweep and Jonathan Ford had been friends for more than 10 years when mutual friends approached them with a concept for a new superfood café. One year later, Pineapple Express was born.

Department | Lifestyle | Style Magainzes

Jonathan Ford and Tom Sweep

Now with more than 23,000 followers across Facebook and Instagram, Jonathan puts the success of Pineapple Express down to their partnership. Having already co-founded Department Group, a hands-on marketing agency, Tom and Jonathan knew the ins and outs of working together.

“If you don’t share the same vision you will slip up at some point down the track because you are both not driving in the same direction,” Jonathan says.

But no partnership is without its challenges; Tom and Jonathan agree they were a bit more confrontational in the early days. According to Tom, it’s all comes down to practice. Nowadays, they’ve learnt to respect and listen to each other’s opinions whenever they’re faced with conflicting ideas.

“You need to learn how to be diplomatic with your partner and rational and reasonable whenever you can,” says Tom.

They say opposites attract, and it’s definitely true in this case. Tom and Jonathan note their different ways of thinking complement each other.

“It’s good having your best friend to support you when things get tough,” says Jonathan.

“And when we work as a team we like to think we can achieve a lot more than we ever could individually.”

In fact, the boys have now teamed up with a good friend to bring an exciting new fitness concept to life.

“We’ve been working on this for a long time and we finally start building it next month,” says Tom.

“It’s very different to anything else currently offered in that space and we’re really proud.”

Sisters and identical twins Mariss and Bec Karagiorgos of fashion blog Twice Blessed agree that having similar desires and interests is the foundation of any successful partnership.

Twice Blessed | Lifestyle | Style Magazines

Marissa and Bec Karagiorgos

“We’ve always been really passionate about fashion and styling, and from a young age we would always work in the same retail jobs. It was a bit confusing for our customers,” Bec laughs.

While both note they work at high capacity separately, they know that coming together is their real strength. Their similarities are more than skin-deep, but it’s their differences that really unite their business.

“I can be more emotional and like to take risks, whereas Marissa is more level-headed and reserved,” says Bec. “I challenge Marissa to push boundaries, and Marissa keeps me rational.”

This balancing act has seen the Twice Blessed Instagram account rocket to more than 80,000 followers in a mere three years. They put their success down to establishing key roles and responsibilities at the beginning, and encourage anyone who is thinking of starting a partnership to do the same.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” says Marissa.

“We’re not saying you need a full-on business plan before you start a job but you need some sort of plan in place for where you want to go, what you want to achieve. Knowing these things will set you apart from others in the industry.”

Above all, Marissa and Bec advise making sure you and your partner are on the same page before starting a business.

“The most important thing to ask is how committed they are to the cause. There’s nothing worse than entering into a partnership or business with someone who won’t carry the same weight as you,” they say.

“In a team environment, you’re only as effective as your partner or your team. So make sure that your plans, goals and work ethic match up before you make any formal agreements.”

Questions to ask your potential partner:

Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?

What is your personal work style?

What are you hoping to get out of this partnership?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

What resources can you offer?


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Article by Leith Wilson

A lover of ice-cream, travel, adventure seeking and fashion, Leith is a former Journalist at Style Magazines and is always on the hunt for her next pair of heels or foodie spot to squash her avocado obsession.


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