Many have concerns when it comes to entering a business partnership. Will the other person have the same ideas? What happens when colliding opinions come up? Will money cause friction? These are but a sample of the questions running through the mind, to be sure, but they’re often amplified when that business partner is a family member, or the other half.
Janet and Dimitri Taifalos knew they wanted to work together in their own business since they met through mutual friends at a local church in London. Janet had moved to the UK from South Africa seven years earlier and Dimitri had been in the country for three years.
Eventually moving to Australia together, the pair continued the separate career paths they had started prior to meeting. Dimitri became a Senior Finance Analyst at Optus HQ in Sydney and Janet worked at Roads and Maritime Services in NSW as Consulting Configuration/Change Manager. But the time had come.
“At the end of 2013, we decided to take the plunge, quit our jobs and investigate other career options,” Dimitri tells Dynamic Business.
“We wanted a business that offered a challenge for each of us to develop our skills in different areas and also offer us a work/life balance so we could enjoy more of life. We also liked the idea of going into a business under a well-known company name, one that had existing processes and systems so we could hit the ground running.”
PACK & SEND soon came up in conversation with friends who were in the franchise game. Janet and Dimitri began their research, gaining financial and legal advice wherever possible and consulting with their family and friends. The decision was made.
In just 11 months, Dimitri and Janet have grown their PACK & SEND business by 245 per cent. They say the decision to focus on customer service and to increase their product/service offerings have been imperative in the impressive short-term growth they have seen thus far.
“This approach has allowed us to acquire a high number of corporate and small business customers with daily/weekly repeat business, which has been great,” Janet says. “We ensure our products and services suit a diverse customer base.”
Dimitri adds: “For example, our online portal allows anybody to send anything at any time and is well suited to our individuals and small business customers, while our service centre allows customers to bring in anything, from their weird and wonderful items, to legal documents, and we can tailor solutions to fit their needs. Because of our no limits approach, we have grown our freight and logistics inventory extensively.”
Ultimately, a business works because of those running it. The right team leads to the right choices, which leads to happy customers. Dimitri and Janet say it hasn’t been a complete walk in the park, but believe they have found the balances needed to drive a successful relationship and business simultaneously.
“We were confident the business would be a success if we followed the systems and processes, but we had no idea how working together would impact our marriage, good or bad,” Janet says.
“Thankfully, we couldn’t be happier and working together has made our relationship and our business so much stronger than we imagined. It’s not all luck, however, we quickly learned that in order to work together well, we must learn to forgive quickly, leave any negativity from work and customers at work, and plan monthly trips away for just us so we can pursue our hobbies/interests.”
As they continue to see business growth throughout the franchise, Dimitri and Janet realise that there are a variety of elements they needed to keep in mind in order to get to where they are now. It was tough, but Dimitri and Janet managed to cut it down to five bits of advice they would offer other couples wanting to embark on a business endeavor together:
- Be kind to each other and forgive each other quickly.
- Play to each other’s strengths and help each other with weaknesses.
- Give each other a break. Remember you can’t expect to get everything 100 per cent right every time.
- Don’t take yourself or each other too seriously – just because you’re business partners, doesn’t mean you need to lose your sense of humour.
- Always respect your customers and give them your full attention, even if you’re in the middle of a bad moment with your partner.