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The power of having a success partner – get ready to change your business (and your life!)

Success partners are all about action, helping each other grow their business, reduce stress and have the confidence to take on larger projects and or new challenges, and coaching each other through the process.

Laura Sutherly & Barry Alt


Filed Under:

Business Development

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Running a business is hard work if you’re running the show on your own. Every day is a challenge, and it can be extremely stressful to manage everything when you don’t have anybody to talk to. Unless they’re in the industry, friends, family, and spouses just don’t quite get what’s going on in your business. 

If you’re struggling to motivate yourself to complete your tasks, would like someone to celebrate the wins with, want to focus on achieving your long-term goals, or need someone to have your back when you’re on vacation, then a success partner might be just what you need. 

For us, becoming success partners helped us realign our businesses and focus on making each day as productive as possible. 

Despite working in entirely different industries (Laura’s agency works with agricultural equipment dealers and Barry’s works in the auto performance & restoration niche) we still manage to help each other succeed, sharing info, resources, and wins along the way. 

Our industries don’t compete, but the main user personas are very similar. Recognizing this allows assets to be created for one business and then repurposed for the other. We don’t start from scratch all of the time. Think of it as A/B testing and this allows us to move faster because our shared teams have already completed this task once.

Today we’re going to show you how a success partner can benefit you and what you can do to make a success partnership work. 

First of all, what is a success partner?

A success partner is somebody who’s there to celebrate the wins and overcome challenges with. They’re there to help you figure out how to grow your business and help you along the stages you need to take to reach your goal. 

Success partners make sure you stay on track of what you’re doing and call you out if they see you getting off track at any point.

A success partner can also be like having a business partner – but without all the stressful legal stuff. Businesses are still completely separate and decisions are independent. At the end of the day, it is up to us as individuals to make decisions and actions that benefit our own businesses.

We all know people in our industry that have business partners or key staff members that help them grow their business and knock the ball out of the park year after year, and sometimes it feels as though they have an unfair advantage. 

In our case, we did not want to legally partner with anyone or hire full time employees, so being success partners bridges that gap. 

What’s the difference between success partnerships and accountability partners?

You might be thinking, “wait a second, isn’t this just an accountability partner?”

Not quite! 

Accountability partnerships are all about the process, and the main goal is to make you accountable for that process. So, if you don’t do something, then you’re responsible for not doing it. It’s all about whether or not you do the tasks you set for yourself. 

Success partners are all about progress, focusing on how you’re moving towards your goals, even if things aren’t going to plan. 

We both run successful agencies, but having a success partnership has brought the benefit of having different eyes and ears on how we were doing business. 

Attending client meetings together not only gives off the impression we have a larger team that brings their own level of expertise, but we can also provide feedback and insight to do better in future sales pitches.  

Success partners are there to help you focus on the results of your progress, no matter how small that progress might feel. They help you by showing you how to persevere and develop your process so you can succeed in your own way. 

“Success partners are about excitement, energy, and movement. Not perfection. Success partners measure the “gain” and movement made toward big dreams, not the “gap” of what they aren’t doing good enough.” Benjamin Hardy, one of the original inspirations for our success partnership. 

Accountability feels like a job where success partners are about energy, excitement, and moving forward. They’re not about perfection but about what is gained by each step you make as you move forward.

How we became success partners

Our success partnership started in 2018. We were both members of the digital agency development program UGURUS. With the end-of-life announcement of our core CMS platform, a group of agency owners within UGURUS came together to explore new platform options for site migrations. This would have been a huge undertaking as individuals so it made sense to divide and conquer the review and testing of platforms.  

We quickly hit it off and realized that we had a lot in common, from the CMS platforms we used to the number of years we've been in business to the services offered. It was easy for  us to start doing daily accountability calls. 

Starting our days off with these calls helped keep us motivated to get things done, and soon after, we started helping each other with project proposals, and we even started meeting with clients together and hiring joint team members. 

We then started scheduling weekly L10 meetings (part of EOS®, the Entrepreneurial Operating System) to work together on projects. 

At this time, we were both looking for a way to offer ongoing programs with recurring revenue to shift from traditional one-off website builds and consulting. Laura mentioned an idea she had shelved awhile ago: Marketing Maximizer™️ program. We took that idea, built a process around it, refined what was in it –  and it’s now the main offering for both of our agencies (with a guaranteed predictable recurring revenue to boot).

Nowadays, we also have joint midweek meetings with key team members, and we even share some expenses and tools to help our businesses grow. Through our open and honest communication, we’ve both implemented the Profit First accounting system into both our agencies.

Our success partnership has helped both of us improve and grow our businesses. 

Self-leadership is key to being a success partner

You can’t be a “success” partner if you’re not actively moving forward in your own life. 

Self-leadership is essential, you can lean on your success partner for sure, but you still need to be driven and motivated for your own success.  

Individually, we’re motivated to do our best. Together, we push each other to achieve new levels of business success. 

What are the benefits of having a success partner?

We’ve found that one of the main benefits of having a success partner is that our business is elevated with purpose and much quicker than doing it on our own. This industry moves fast! And it can be exhausting to keep up the pace. Having more eyes on the pulse allows us to divide and conquer. For webinars or items that one of us may miss, a recap is provided by the other. 

When you get stuck (or start to procrastinate) with almost anything in your business, you have another agency owner there for you who can relate to your situation and provide valuable feedback, ideas and support. They have your back, and you have theirs.

Not only do you have somebody to rely on, but you also have somebody that you can collaborate with on a weekly basis, and can work on projects with you. Working together towards a common goal really encourages you to do better, stay focused, and keep on track with your own business.

Over time you’ll learn that you can also lean on your success partner for support when you’re on vacation and they’re there to back you up in case of emergency as they’ll know much more about your business, clients and team than an accountability partner.

Here are six of our biggest advantages to having a success partner:

1. They help you analyze your goals

With the help of a success partner, you can set monthly, quarterly, or annual goals and go through them with your partner every week (or every day if you’re so inclined!). You can even go further and develop a 3, 5, and 10 year plan.

They can be there to talk through what went well and what didn’t work out. 

Your success partner will help you learn from your mistakes and help you realize when you’re being too hard on yourself, but also when you’re not being hard enough. 

A bit of tough love never hurt anybody!

2. They prevent you from making excuses

Everybody makes excuses when they don’t get a task done, we’re all human, but with a success partner by your side you won’t be able to make those excuses. 

Don’t worry, you won’t get into trouble – they’re not your teacher or parent! But you will have somebody to talk you through why you couldn’t achieve your goal or finish your task. 

And, talking it out usually clears up the excuse, moves it forward and gets it off of the to-do list. No avoiding.

3. They open you up to new perspectives

Two heads are always better than one, especially when it comes to solving problems and figuring out a game plan for your business. 

You can work together with your success partner to challenge each other everyday and to get the Big Rocks (EOS, thank you.) done to help you move forward and grow your business. Struggling with a difficult client? They may give you new insight into the why behind what’s going on and help you work out the best solution to deal with the client.

4. They help you network

A good success partner will help you network and introduce you to more people within the industry.

This will help you get into more networking circles you can potentially sell to and get more business for your agency.

Networking will also help you find others to collaborate with and support your team.

5. You can celebrate together

Just like football players after winning a big game, there’s nothing better than celebrating a victory with somebody else. Working alone it can be easy to overlook your accomplishments or take them for granted.

You might not have a whole team with you, but with a success partner, you’ll have somebody there to share the win with. Sharing even the smallest of victories really makes you feel like you’ve genuinely accomplished your goals. 

6. Collaboration = bigger wins 

We collaborate on everything from developing our marketing programs to pitching proposals. 

Collaborating has helped both of us win larger-budget projects over the last three years, streamline our working processes, save time and cut down on our monthly outgoing expenses thanks to sharing resources.

The eight key steps to getting the most out of being success partners

If you want your success partnership to work, you’ll want to follow the 8 steps to success:

1. Show up

Always show up when you’ve scheduled to work with your success partner. 

If you don’t continually show up, then it won’t work for you. 

You have to put in the time with your partner to see results, and if you don’t, then you won’t see any improvement. 

Also it’s pretty rude to stand them up when they’ve set aside their valuable time to work with you. Don’t be that guy!

2. Document

Document what work you want help with and any tasks you’re doing, this way you'll be able to keep track of everything, including your progress and your partner’s progress. 

3. Commit

Commit to one or two items for every morning so you can start seeing some progress. One solution is a quick text to share those with each other. If you’d like to go deeper you can create a spread to track daily goals and progress. If you’ve got a more significant issue to deal with or a bigger task to finish, then set a fixed date and time for when you’re going to complete this task.

4. Discuss

Always discuss how you’re progressing with your work. Discuss why you may or may not have met your goal. This will help you figure out what you can do in the future to make sure future tasks are completed.

5. Help

Always help each other work through any issues. This has to work both ways. If one person decides that they want help but don’t want to give it, then your success partnership isn’t going to work out, and you might have to find somebody else to work with. 

6. Transparency

Always try to be as transparent as possible with your partner and provide them with honest feedback. If you don’t, then they might never improve or learn from their mistakes. 

Don’t be afraid to call them out on their BS, and remember to be ready when they call you out!

7. Consistency

Stay consistent with your meetings and keep your scheduled appointments. If you have meetings with your success partner every Tuesday, make sure you meet them every Tuesday. 

If you have to cancel, make sure you reschedule and try your best not to miss a single one.

Consistency is key to success!

8. Respect

Always trust, like and respect each other, or your partnership won’t work. 

If you think that some adjustments need to be made, adjust as needed or find another partner that fits the way you work better.

Success partners are all about action, helping each other grow their business, reduce stress and have the confidence to take on larger projects and or new challenges, and coaching each other through the process.

If you think a success partner is what you need to achieve greatness with your digital agency, then consider joining groups like The Admin Bar’s TABLES to get to know more like-minded people. Whatever you do, don’t try and do everything on your own – that’s a quick road to burn out. Together, we can do amazing things.

Laura Sutherly & Barry Alt

Laura Sutherly founded her digital agency Agtivation in 1998. Since then, her agency has built over 360 ag-focused websites and developed the Marketing Maximizer™ program. Still farming cattle, goats, corn, soybeans and hay, Laura and her husband are also raising future farmers in their teen twins. Barry Alt is the founder of Motorhead Digital, providing Marketing Maximizer™ programs to auto restoration and performance shops. He's also a regular guest author for The Shop magazine, sharing helpful knowledge from his 24+ years in the online marketing world.

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