The relationship between you and your partner is your company's greatest asset
Ask anyone who has ever been in a failed business partnership, and they will likely tell you it was almost as stressful and as painful--and equally as messy--as ending a marriage. That's because these two types of relationships are not as different as you might think. Both often start out as fairytale romances, with individuals assuming the best of the other and seeing only great possibilities. Both relationships require investments of time, self, money, and effort, in pursuit of a common long-term goal. Both have in mind the joint creation of something beautiful and lasting. And both can fall apart if the parties fail to focus on the relationship, which cannot grow if, for example, the parties are not aligned in their long- and short-term visions, or they don't communicate effectively, or they harbor unspoken expectations and resentments. In order for a business to succeed, the parties must have a vision for their relationship, not just the fruits of their relationship. As the relationship goes, so goes the investment in a successful company, a friendship between partners, the welfare of their employees, and loyalty of their customers.
Engaged couples often seek out pre-marital counseling to ensure they know their partners well enough to build a successful long-term relationship. Married couples in conflict will seek marriage counseling in a last-ditch effort to save their relationship. But how often are potential business partners or partners in conflict willing to do the same? If you are an entrepreneur partnered or thinking of partnering, your relationship has the potential to be not only your greatest business asset, but also one of the most important relationships in your life. Protect it as if your success depended on it.