The journey of entrepreneurship is an amazing one that involves many ups and downs, wearing a million and one hats, that can be, and has been, an exciting learning adventure! I believe that the key to owning and surviving in business is resilience. It’s hard to believe we started our professional careers over 20 years ago, and Ellice and I have been in practice and business together for 16 of them! We’ve learned a lot along the way and want to do our best to share what we’ve learned, to help other practitioners avoid the mistakes we’ve made, and help motivate and grow their passion to help them flourish.
Being a healthcare professional, we went to school and trained to care for people’s health, and I believe that the education we received was rich and full and provided the basis of making us great practitioners; but what they did not teach us is how to thrive in business. Running a business is so vastly different than seeing and treating patients. The concept of helping people while trying to run a practice for profit feels contradictory to our principles as practitioners. Our focus has always been to help people improve their quality of health and life, so I have to admit that I feel a bit awkward accepting money for my services. But the truth is, in order to help more people, the business has to flourish. Ensuring that our business is still operating 5 years from now guarantees we’ll be able to help more people in the future.
I remember in first year, there was 1 mandatory business course as part of our 4-year program – a time when we were so young, naïve, and completely unable to comprehend what our lives would be like out of school! During those early years, I was lucky to have made a connection that has evolved into a lasting 20-year friendship and business partnership. I often question what has made this friendship and business work so well. What we have both excelled in is the ability to pivot. No business is smooth sailing but our ability to take a problem and run with a solution quickly is something we both excel at. But beyond our quick wit and ability to trouble shoot, I believe the recipe to a successful and healthy partnership should include the following.
Similar Risk Tolerance
Owning and operating your own business is risky. It requires you to be able to make similar sacrifices and put the business before personal gain at times. Business in nature tends to fluctuate and the tolerance and resilience to these fluctuations is what allows for businesses to survive. The ability for both partners to set aside personal gain and put the needs and requirements of the business first especially in its early years, in my opinion, is key.
Ability to Divide and Conquer
Find a partnership that highlights different skill sets. We all know that when working together it is much easier to have a successful project, task or business when you acknowledge your strengths and divide the work according to what each person already loves and will excel at. Don’t get me wrong, being an entrepreneur means that you are IT, HR, Receptionist, Accountant, Marketing, Communications and Practitioner all in one day or sometimes all within an hour! But finding the niches you thrive in and being able to focus your learning in those areas will help you divide the work and flourish.
Every successful relationship needs this innately. Trust means putting egos aside and making the vision and goals of the business a priority. Your partner needs to know and be shown that you have his or her best interest in mind which requires constant reassurance and give and take.
Communicate and Listen
Being open and able to discuss decisions on a continual basis is key. Sometimes this is in a formal meeting setting or, sometimes as it is often with us, it’s a 9am text chat (after the kids are in school) or phone call that helps us hash out ideas and make plans to finish tasks. Listening to one another’s concerns and goals is critical to a lasting partnership.
Ability to Pivot
Who said that the day to day running of a business is straight and narrow? Not even close. Part of our job on a daily basis is putting out fires. I believe, our success over the past 16 years has hinged on the fact that we are able to meet a problem head on and pivot constantly along the way. We never see a problem that doesn’t have a solution and look at it as a chance to change and grow. When met with an obstacle, we have found that It has always guided us down a new path, helped us learn more about ourselves and made us better at what we do as practitioners as well as business owners. Change is hard but, in our case, change has always been good in the end.
Over the years we’ve seen a lot of partnerships dissolve along the way. We have been grateful that our recipe for success has served us well for so many years, and hopefully for years to come. Aside from what we are taught in our profession, we’ve learned along the way that when it comes to a successful partnership, the ability to listen, constantly pivot, share in the work load and trust each other innately are the key ingredients to a healthy partnership.
Written By Jasmine Sufi R.TCMP
Edited by: Ellice Yang R.TCMP