The best business decisions I’ve made of over the years have been out of necessity.
1️⃣ I decided to start King of Pops after getting laid off during the Great Recession.
2️⃣ I ended up selling out of a push cart because I didn’t have enough money for a brick and mortar.
3️⃣ We started franchising during the Covid-19 Pandemic because we were running out of options.
The list goes on.
There is one exception, though.
The very best business decision that I can personally take credit for is asking my middle brother, Nick, to be my business partner.
A little more than a month after selling the first pop, in May of 2010, it was clear that there was something special about King of Pops. People were driving from across the state and lining up at our inconspicuous cart in the Buddy’s Gas Station parking lot to buy our pops.
It was a super exciting feeling, but as humans we aren’t wired to appreciate. Instead, I was terrified of losing it. I was afraid I would squander a once in a lifetime opportunity to build something special.
I’m the youngest of three boys, and my two older brothers are the best guys I know. They would both do anything for me, and they also believe in me.
At the time, I was living on Nick's couch, and in addition to his full time job, he was helping with King of Pops on nights and weekends.
Nick was a couple years out of law school at the time, and had taken a job working as a prosecutor in the Atlanta suburbs. It didn’t make logical sense for him to quit a well-paying job to start slinging pops and chopping up fruit, but I figured I might as well ask.
I knew he would consider it for a couple reasons. First, he enjoyed it. And second, he knew I needed the help.
I offered him fifty percent of the business, and we’d figure out what we could afford to pay ourselves and that would be even as well. Lucky for me, he accepted and that has been our compensation structure ever since.
Since then we’ve swapped titles around, held different accountabilities and been through countless ups and downs.
Through it all I’ve never once doubted that decision.
Working with someone that believes in you and truly has your best interest at heart is priceless.
This sentiment goes both ways. I work harder because I don’t want to let my business partner down. I don't want to let my brother down.
I knew this would be the case in 2010 when we were first getting started. Hard work and grit can only get you so far, though.
What I didn’t fully appreciate is the value of an ongoing conversation about the business. There is no replacing the context of thousands of hours of working together with someone you believe in as equals in a business.
It’s important that you truly believe in your partner whether they are family or not.
Nick and I have different skills, and have done a good job of consistently clarifying accountabilities as our business develops. We continue to push each other and find new ways to energize the company. We are still making up job titles, but it’s clear we are both all-in.
Last but not least, having a partner that you enjoy being around makes the whole thing more fun. And that is the point of all this anyway, right?