Recently, I attended the wedding of my amazing friend, who is also my Halebury co-founder and business partner. It got me thinking about not only what makes a good marriage work, but what makes a good business partnership work.
I recently read a quote by Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of Gilt Groupe, about the importance of a strong relationship. As business partners of Halebury, I can say there has never been a dull moment and we have, as any other business owners, gone through challenging times, but our journey in growing together as business partners highlights what it takes to make such a partnership work.
I was looking at pictures of each of our weddings: mine nine years ago (just before we launched Halebury) and Denise’s just a month ago. During these nine years, we’ve had six children between us (three each) and undertaken two major house moves due to our husbands’ work (me from London to LA and Denise from London to Southampton).
During this time, we also launched and grew Halebury to what is now a multi-million pound law firm within the NewLaw space.
It has not been easy growing in a competitive market place especially with no funding, but what has been equally as hard has been balancing our growing business life with our personal life.
Here are a few of the lessons we have learnt along the way about how to succeed in this:
Firstly; we realise that for our partnership to work it has to be flexible to accommodate our personal life.
Many years ago I went to a talk by a successful female entrepreneur and she mentioned that shortly after they set up their business, one of the founders announced that she was pregnant and the other co-founders thought it was bad timing on her part.
From early on, we decided that the business had to work for us on a personal basis. That does not mean we do not want to put in the hours, do the work or to make the sacrifice; but we just want to have a personal life. This meant giving each other the room to have it, but we also needed to support each other during our various moves. We do not see change as an obstacle but need to reassess, adjust and make the best out of every opportunity.
On a basic level, this means that we talk about our logistics all the time and actually make sure that the other is not too overstretched.
Denise made a point of telling me that I was not allowed to book any trips to London in December as that would mean I would miss being with my kids on their birthdays. We look out for each other. However, on a higher level, we have a great deal of respect for each other and our individual career aspirations; whether in TV, business or for our charitable causes.
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