I can think of no better way to start a new business than what my partner, Midori Verity, and I have done with Fuel to Fire. As experienced entrepreneurs, we both knew that in order for our business model to succeed, we had to succeed in trying it ourselves. Since our business is about accountability, well, we had to first make ourselves accountable to each other. So that’s exactly what we did! And only four months later—if you can believe it—we launched a brand new company!
Midori and I quickly laid the groundwork for an accountability structure as soon as we decided to launch our business. Every Monday we had a standing phone meeting where we outlined what we would each focus on and accomplish for the week, putting it down in a spreadsheet. The following week, we reported what is and/or isn’t still done and what additional actions will be needed to check those things off our lists. It was always extremely clear to each of us what Midori had to do and what I had to do. These simple acts of checking in and being accountable for certain things meant that in order for one of us to succeed, both of us had to succeed.
This new level of accountability has allowed us to set new goals each week and report back to each other. On top of that, we schedule work sprints where we connect online and put our computers on mute so that we can stay connected while working together, supporting each other’s mutual efforts even if we can’t be in the same room or city. Even with our combined experience as business owners, it would still have been very easy to be overwhelmed with all we took on in such a short time—it was A LOT! But having this constant level of accountability really moved us along and much quicker than we realized.
There has also been an unexpected extra benefit to this accountability structure. As every entrepreneur knows, you and your partner(s) need to be in business together through thick or thin. New businesses have unexpected bumps and curves and many friends—both new and experienced entrepreneurs—who become business partners soon realize that their business and personal relationship may suffer as a result. That’s exactly why Midori and I have taken advantage of this structure to not only build a solid foundation for our business but for our personal relationship as well. The personal side of our relationship is relatively new since we haven’t known each other that long. So it was an added bonus to realize that by working closely together and by holding each other accountable, we were also developing a stronger personal bond. We know we can truly count on each other and that we are in this together.
Thanks to this solid structure of accountability, Midori and I have launched our business effectively and quickly without feeling weighed down. We structured it to specifically be light so that we could move forward effortlessly without feeling overwhelmed by all we had to get done. This has also filtered down to how I feel on a personal level. I’m now wanting to take more action and produce more results so I can continue to not let her down. And because of this, I can hold my head up higher and go beyond my comfort zone to get the things done that I said I would. All this means I now have a stronger and healthier business and personal connection to accountability. Our tasks and goals remain clear, our relationship continues to develop. There’s no confusion, no blaming, no miscommunication. As a business owner, don’t you want the same for your partnership(s) and business?