Case Study

Evaluating a new partnership


Recently, we sat down with two agency owners who engaged Anchor Advisors to help them think through the next steps for formalizing their business partnership. Each owner shared a bit about what it was like to work with Brad and how his coaching impacted their partnership and their individual businesses. 

First, a Little Background

Two firm owners working in similar spaces—leadership development and coaching for companies in adjacent industries—had been working together informally for several years. The two owners considered formalizing their partnership and engaged Brad to help them think through the transition. One owner had worked with Brad on partnership issues in the past – 14 years prior; the other had never met Brad. They each interviewed him for the engagement and then mutually decided to move forward.

The Focus of Their Work Together

As founders, life and work are deeply integrated. So, when visioning for the future, founders can’t just think about where they want to be professionally in five years; they have to think about what they want their lives to look like in five years – the role they want work to play, what success will and won’t look like, how conflict will and won’t be managed. 

For two owners considering a long-term business partnership, this is the heart of it. These are the questions that have to be answered before contracts are signed, and new logos are designed. Brad provided structure for those conversations – serving as both a facilitator and trusted advisor.

A Knack for Supporting Partnerships

Both owners agreed that part of what makes Brad so well-suited for supporting partnerships is his depth of experience and an uncanny ability to make both partners feel equally supported and bring levity to otherwise stressful conversations. 

Brad is focused on the best interest of the partnership, not one partner or the other. As one owner put it, “it never feels like he’s just trying to earn a fee; he genuinely wants to help you be successful.”

Now, Let’s Talk About the Results

After asking themselves and each other all the big, challenging questions, the two partners ultimately decided to maintain their independence and forgo a formal partnership. Working with Brad, they’d unearthed unresolvable differences of perspective – different goals and anti-goals (more on that term later). 

Both partners agreed that working with Brad was invaluable in preventing future turmoil and stress. Without Brad, one partner surmised, these issues would have come to a head at some point, likely months or years into working together, making everything far more complicated.

A Lasting Impact

While the pair ultimately decided to walk away from their would-be partnership, their work with Brad has had a lasting impact on their individual businesses – not just the business they chose not to form. 

For one owner, understanding how to assess the areas they have a natural talent for (and those they don’t) is helping them to recruit the right people to support their business’s marketing, business development, finance, and HR functions. 

For the other owner, the practice of taking a step back to contemplate longer-term goals and anti-goals— “here are the things I want for my life and business, and here are the things I don’t want for my life and business”—and developing a roadmap for achieving the goals and avoiding the anti-goals has been transformational. 

To Sum It All Up

When asked how they’d describe Brad’s services to a colleague, both owners used words like insightful and encouraging. One owner summed it up this way: “as a coach, Brad isn’t going to solve your problem for you; that’s not his job. Instead, he’s going to give you the context and perspective you need to come to a resolution yourself.”