Tips from a Wise Owl

Tips from a Wise Owl
February 15, 2018 Scott Charlton

Keys to a Successful Partnership in Business


Towards the end of 2017, I interviewed friend and colleague Gary Tupicoff for my podcast program, In the Slipstream FM, about his days as a leading financial services practitioner. There were so many tips and practical insights that Gary shared that I recommend you listen to the entire Episode. (You can access this Episode here or subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher.)

Of all the experiences that Gary shared however, I was particularly taken by what he had to say about the keys to a successful partnership in business. Like many practitioners, Gary had his share of good and not-so-good experiences with business partners. His final partnership however worked extremely well and notwithstanding he is long retired, Gary remains on excellent terms with Neil, his former partner who has carried on with the business.

I’ve extracted Gary’s Five Keys to a Successful Partnership from the Episode to share with you below. I’ll give you fair warning though – these five keys are deceptively simple!


1. Complementary Characters and Skills
When partners have complementary characters and skills, much richer creativity is possible. It allows partners to harness each other’s unique strengths and benefit from different points of view. In an effective partnership, the sum of the whole is indeed greater than what the partners could achieve individually.


2. Shared Goals and Values
These are the essence of the company’s identity. Partners need to discuss the company’s goals and values, set the company’s purpose and define what the ideal business will look like. These shared goals and values should then be captured in writing and be used as the reference for everything that the company does.


3. Trust
Trust is the foundation for any successful partnership. Giving full commitment to the partnership, mutual respect and engaging in open communication are all critical to building trust. Understanding of each other’s needs, expectations, and requirements also help partners interact in a strong, supportive environment.


4. Communication
Partners need to have honest dialogue at all times, no matter how difficult the topic. In Gary’s firm, he and his business partner settled on a simple Five (I’m terrific) down to One (I’m really not happy) rating system by which they could quickly and regularly convey how they were feeling about the business.


5. Agree on an Exit Strategy
How partners plan to exit the business can have a significant impact on the day-to-day decisions and running of the business. If partners are focused on different long term goals, they will be driven towards different choices. The exit strategy should be revisited from time to time to make sure that it is still fair and equitable. If circumstances have changed from what was originally proposed, sit down together and work through the ramifications.

On listening back to the interview, I particularly liked that Gary’s five keys are based on his real life experience. Hopefully, the many listeners to the podcast felt likewise. Why not “run the ruler” over your own business with these five points and see how you rate?


Scott Charlton is a Chartered Accountant and a director of Slipstream Coaching, a company dedicated to assisting financial practitioners achieve their potential. A long term business coach to both accountants and financial planners, Scott is also the author of three books regarding professionals in practice. Scott can be contacted by phone 0409 870 330 or via email