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Finding ‘The One' in business

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Sophie Cornish.jpg

Six years together, and still going strong. Six years of teamwork, planning, dreaming and scheming. Of boosting each other’s confidence and believing in each other’s ideas. As much as I love my husband, I’m talking about my partnership with Holly Tucker, with whom I set up our business, notonthehighstreet.com.

When I’m asked by fledgling entrepreneurs – as often I am – when’s the right time to start a business, my responsible self knows I should ask if they have raised finance/proved their model/sussed out the competition. Instead, my instinctive response is: “Are you working with a business partner or going it alone?” If you want to call the shots, stay solo. If teamwork and moral support are what you cherish most, that’s unlikely to change.

Finding 'The One'

- If you talk enough with friends and colleagues about your business ideas, you’ll soon meet like-minded souls.

- Look for differences, not similarities. Holly knew I could do things she couldn’t, and vice versa.

- Choosing a colleague-turned-friend is much better than trying to turn a friend into a colleague. Holly and I had worked together before at an ad agency, so already had a proven professional relationship.

Rules of Engagement

- Set acid tests. Do you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses? Do they complement each other, or will you be fighting over the same turf while other things get neglected?

- Ask awkward questions. We did this early on, via a huge questionnaire. How much money do you want to make? How hard do you want to work? Who’s in charge? Questions that become a lot more awkward a few years later.

- Be sure you share the same big vision and long-term plan: sharing only a dream to get rich just won’t cut it.

- Regroup regularly and communicate. As well as daily and weekly meetings, Holly and I lock ourselves away every few months to plan, make sure we’re on track, and simply check we’re OK.

If you’re fortunate enough to find the yin to your yang, grab them with both hands – the effect on your business can be electric.

Sophie is MD of notonthehighstreet.com. Contact Sophie on sophie.cornish@stylist.co.uk or via Twitter @SophieVCornish

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