Amy Dickerson (left) and Katie Wafer are the co-owners of Cherry Creek Live Love Lash and Hydrate IV Bar Wellness Spa. They alternately author a monthly column.
The Team is the Trick in Business
How co-branding with another business helped a company thrive
You know the old saying, "Your network is your net worth?” When I was younger, I loathed that statement. It felt like a platitude that meant that I would never get anywhere as a business person unless I knew the right people, unless I had hook-ups and powerful business connections. I felt defeated before I'd even begun, partly because I did not grow up in a huge network of entrepreneurs and business people.
I felt scared, to be honest. Thinking that because my family was not well-connected in business circles, I believed that I would never have the same chances that others did – or that I would have a much harder time, at the very least.
Today when I hear this, after years of being in business, the phrase means something completely different to me. My take on that phrase today is that it means that the stronger your partners, allies and advisers, the easier your path can be – and the more secure you will feel, and that it all might just be a lot of fun.
Understanding that one cannot even come close to doing everything alone (nor should they) is a lesson best learned as quickly as possible. With the pace of the world today, it is imperative to stay focused on where your expertise lies and learn to utilize others that are experts in their chosen fields. This is not to say, as the owner or leader of an organization, that it is not wise to have an eye on everything; it simply means that it works best for the business person and ultimately for the business, to develop a network of people and establish the necessary communication and trust it takes to set everyone up for success.
Since co-partnering with Hydrate IV Bar earlier this year, a big lesson learned – one that is now helping to bolster our respective businesses – is that we both came armed with great connections and solid alliances, and utilizing almost all of those support people ramps-up our separate and joined success. A fun piece of the business-building puzzle is noting that where one of us lacked a service or supportive element, the other had the perfect solution or a solid team already in place. We now use many of the same firms, not only in our separate businesses, but within our joint venture.
Furthermore, the very synergy of co-partnering brought forth from the shadows, it would seem, those who wanted to help and who showed up to do so. Creativity, financial backing, securing legal logistics, but dozens of business people who had been "watching us from afar," as well as clientele with (so-called) connections – a plethora of creative and successful businesses – immediately sought and continue to align their work with ours.
It is a serendipitous surprise to have people coming to your business, wanting to know how to be involved, how to help, how to shore up the vision. It's an infectious excitement that never appears on any "executive summary" or "financial plan." Successful people are interesting; they gravitate toward what you are interested in.
That is how it's worked so far.
Of course, we also sought out people to help us with commercial leases, operating agreements, marketing, public relations, accounting, payroll and human resources. These are the foundational pieces you need in place before you can really let the creative juices flow.
Uniting or co-branding with another business is not for the faint-of-heart. And that is a good thing. By uniting, you must align on the co-partnered vision. The strategies, direction, the outcome must be discussed and then decided upon in detail.
But after all of that is done, after the ultimate vision feels exciting and the pieces are finally being put into place, get ready for the unexpected. Prosperity attracts prosperity; hard work engenders hard work – even from those who having nothing to gain in the business' future success.
And therein lies the complete, the unexpected thrill of it all.