Running a studio is an enormous undertaking that requires you to wear many hats at once (and with expertise): pedagogy, customer service, business management and beyond. Some owners find they're better off doing the work with a trusted partner by their side—someone to share both the responsibilities and the rewards. But finding the right person to work with isn't easy. You need someone whose personality, strengths and weaknesses complement your own. Here, three sets of successful partners get to the heart of how they make it work.
The best friends
Infinite Motion Performing Arts Academy
Mahwah, New Jersey
Years in business: 8
Colleen Cross and Rosanne Renda have been working together for 17 years. They met when Renda came to work for Cross at her first studio, which she owned with a previous partner. When her partner moved away and the business closed, Renda and Cross kept the studio company alive by holding rehearsals in a rented space. The pair soon decided to formally team up to launch a new entity as a 50-50 partnership. Today, Infinite Motion Performing Arts Academy is three times as big as the former studio.
Responsibility divide: Renda handles curriculum, programs, social-media marketing and any student issues that arise. Cross deals with parents and handles schedules, payroll, managing teachers, and directing and producing performances.
Communication style: The two meet face-to-face at least once a week to update each other on the latest developments in their respective areas of the business and discuss. They make all major business decisions together.
Success secret: As best friends, Renda and Cross say it's sometimes challenging to separate the personal and the professional—so they schedule "friend days." They get together socially with the rule of not talking about the studio. This year, the pair escaped for a spa weekend in Connecticut.
Partnering perk: "[You never] feel like you're alone," says Renda. "You go through all the highs and lows together."
Words of wisdom: "Before you go into a partnership with someone, make sure your philosophy and intentions for the business are identical," says Renda.