How to choose a business partner: The Pomegranite model
Today, Pomegranite celebrates making it through its first year. And what a year it’s been. Sarah and I have travelled an incredible road together and though there were blisters (and injured ankles), we are now getting into our stride, getting fitter and running faster. This journey did not begin 365 days ago but a long, long time before that and I’m going to impart the wisdom we have learned about choosing a business partner.
1. Share some common ground.
Sarah and I were at Rhodes University together all the way up to honours. We weren’t particularly close friends but good enough that when the end of the year came along and I had no idea what to do with my life, I accepted Sarah’s invitation to join her and another classmate, Harry Davies (more about him later) on a trip to Ireland to find their fortunes.
2. Have similar dreams.
Find our fortunes we did not. It was early 2008, the recession had just hit Ireland in a BIG way and the only work we could get was going door to door getting people to sign up to monthly charity donations for deaf kids in India. It was a pretty devastating turn of events, going from becoming accomplished academics to not being able to fill in a form on someone’s doorstep because it was snowing and you were so cold you couldn’t feel your fingers. But it was character building and fantastic life experience.
We actually ended up fantasising together about getting a job, you know indoors. With a desk perhaps and maybe even a phone!?
3. Be able to have a laugh together
Despite our day jobs, we had an absolute blast during those few months. We drank Guinness, we danced, we went on adventures, we had philosophical discussions and we made roast chicken. The third memeber in our merry trio, Harry Davies, started Harare News, which also celebrated its one year anniversary yesterday.
4. Have common interests
5. Like your partner enough to want to hang out even after work hours.
6. Trust your partner enough to take risks together.
7. Choose someone you respect.
This, above all. If you respect each other, you can have those difficult conversations that are a part of running a business together. I’ve had some practice at this.
2008 – Me to a very ill Sarah in Ireland while drying her hair: “I don’t want you to panic, but I think your hair is stuck in the hairdryer. I’m just going to fetch the scissors…”
2013 – Me to Sarah on the eve of showing the client our first ever website: “I don’t want you to panic, but I think I just deleted the website and I don’t know how to get it back…”
Look at us out now. A job indoors. With a desk and everything! And a great partnership.
Happy Birthday, Pomegranite.