"Our mutual friend just introduced us to the guy who was the former COO of Victoria’s Secret!"
My partner and I looked at each other with excitement. And then we thought: which of the two of us should follow up with this brilliant new contact, who was best to network with him?
As my business partner Antonia and I work hard every day to grow THINX, we have run into the same issues over and over again: who is going to manage which relationship? Since we’re good friends, initially we both wanted to meet every awesome person together and both build relationships with everyone. Meeting new, smart people is always fun!
We came to realize very quickly: This doesn't work. It’s too much to manage. It wastes precious time (and time, as we very well know, is the greatest non-renewable resource we have, especially for a young company). It can also get confusing (aka become a clusterflock) for two people to manage one relationship for the other party.
How to Divvy Up and Delegate
Our solution? To truly understand and agree on each of our roles in the company and then see which relationship is best nurtured by which partner.
In our case for THINX, Antonia is focused on supply chain management, new designs and operations, whereas I am focused on fundraising, marketing/PR and partnerships. So every time we meet people now, we decide who is best suited to manage the relationship and we make a simple introduction the other party and then move on. It has very much allowed us to support one another instead of be challenged by these circumstances.
You can also do the same by asking yourself if you and your partner have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what relationships. It’s not enough to know what your title is, you need to clearly define who is going to be talking with who and managing your important relationships and contacts accordingly.
The first thing to do is to define your roles and responsibilities and then agree on these roles between the partners. Try and have your roles written down and put in a prominent place (above the bathroom toilet is a good one).
Then anytime you get connected to someone outside the scope of your roles and responsibilities, please simply forward it along to the partner in charge of that department. It will simplify the partnership (and frankly, your life) once this is put into effect.
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