Recently reading the Steve Jobs biography, one of the recurring undertones that struck me was just how fortunate Jobs and Wozniak were to have met and struck a friendship that forged a successful (yet often controversial) business partnership. Despite being at totally different ends of the personality spectrum, it was to prove a winning combo which meant they were able to work to each other’s strengths and achieve much more together than they could ever have done individually.
It’s actually quite amazing when you think of how many successful businesses started out with a similar story where two people, each bringing their own very different skills, knowledge and personalities to the table, combined to do great things in business. Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak (Apple), Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Microsoft), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google) or Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry’s…who doesn’t love ice-cream); all winning business combos forged from an understanding of a shared vision and working together to achieve it.
This naturally got me thinking about my own business partnership with MyWork founder Matt, and the parallels with these famous business partnerships. Whilst not quite putting ourselves on the same shelf as the business giants mentioned above (maybe someday…), there are definitely many aspects of their stories that I can relate to with my own successful business combo.
My mother will attest to my desire to be my own boss and run my own business from a young age; I always knew I wanted to do it, but had no idea what form that business might take. My main issue was that, while driven, making quick decisions and taking risks has never been my thing. So while I thought entrepreneurial, I am by nature very cautious when it comes to big life decisions. Taking the leap of faith required to quit my career and solid 9-5 and help build something new that came with no guarantees of success…well that was something I may never have done myself had I not had Matt to nudge me over the edge.
Without wanting to embarrass him too much, I am genuinely thankful every day for the opportunity Matt gave me to join him in business. I’m sure he won’t mind my saying that by comparison he is your classic entrepreneurial type; always thinking outside the box, a risk taker, he makes quick decisions and isn’t afraid to fail. These are the sorts of qualities I personally aspire to, but know in myself do not fit my natural instincts. When it comes to business, Matt and I both bring something very different to the table. He challenges me and pushes me to make decisions that I’d otherwise agonise over, and I like to think I challenge him and help to him focus and channel his ideas and enthusiasm.
Our business combo allows us to work together to achieve much more than we ever could have done separately; complementing each other’s strength and weaknesses. This is a recurring theme that might sound cliché but is something I see at work daily, not only within my own business, but in the businesses of our clients and partners.
Especially at this time of year when so many resolutions are being made to kick start that new business idea; I’d urge anyone looking to go out on their own to consider who they might already know with a shared passion and a skill set to complement your own. After all, the likes of Google, Apple, and Microsoft make for a pretty convincing argument.