Business for two is better!

With him, self-confidence is acquired, I know him from the cradle. Born into a family of ten children, Mourad Benamer and his older brother, Yahia, have turned their childhood play into successful partnerships. First in 1999 with the Nouvelle Fraîcheur, a campus sandwich distribution network. So in 2006, by launching their first sushi restaurant, Eat Sushi, in Paris. Today, the brothers head a chain of about thirty restaurants with a turnover of 28 million euros.

The visionary and the strategist. Would we do better together? According to INSEE, in 2010, a third of companies created their box as a duo: half of them with their spouse or another family member, the other half with a partner. “Getting started in pairs is a trend that we particularly observe among young graduates who are used to setting up projects together,” notes Laurence Piganeau, head of the center of excellence at the Agency for Business Development. “For 83% of entrepreneurs, the first benefit of an association is the complementarity of skills”, analyzes Benoît Galy, author of “Bien s’associater pour mieux entrepreneur” (Leduc.s Editions). Legendary duos thus often consist of a visionary and a strategist. Like the one formed by Paul Dubrule and Gérard Pélisson, the founders of the Accor group. “Dubrule had observed the concept of Holiday Inn in the United States and sensed that this type of hotel industry would explode in Europe, Pélisson had experience of how large companies worked”, sums up executive coach Jean-Philippe Bozek, author of “Happiness to Make” ( Eyrolles).

Join in and last. However, this complementarity is not always obvious to those affected. Thierry Bizot and Emmanuel Chain needed a helping hand to make it appear in their audiovisual production company, Elephant et Cie. “Emmanuel and I have been friends since high school,” says Thierry Bizot. We started in 1999 without being organized, in full confidence. In the beginning, Emmanuel was not there often because he presented the program “Capital”. As he left the antenna, I felt the worry of the housewife watching her husband come home! I then suggested he go to a coach so he could help us split the work up. The one Thierry Bizot jokingly describes as their “marriage counselor” locked them inside a meeting room for two hours with instructions on writing on Post-it notes what they liked to do and what deterred them. “When he came back from lunch, he had pasted a sort of map of our respective tastes on the wall, and our field of action took natural form: To Emmanuel the magazine and the production, to me the entertainment and the negotiations.”

After all, the association’s potential lies dormant when there is only control of the daily. Benoît Galy remembers a young creator of an IT service company who ended up feeling the association as a burden, without giving up. The measured leadership of his partner made him tremble with impatience. Instinctively and impatiently he would run risks, recharge his batteries. There were no new challenges!

Unlike Thierry Bizot and Emmanuel Chain, who constantly nurture themselves to nurture their partnership, through new projects, but also by creating subsidiaries. As for Mourad and Yahia Benamer, they are on their third challenge, Eat Sushi Drive. Goal: to become a leader in the sector. Subsequently, they do not rule out selling their box to change the playing field. As a duo or individually. “Couples are not necessarily meant to grow old together,” coach Marc Traverson emphasizes. track their own path to group success.

Affect and business, an explosive mix. And then, not all two-person adventures are success stories. Coach Jean-Philippe Bozek thus knows specialists in unhappy unions. “I followed an entrepreneur who was afraid to start alone,” he says. He believed in the miracle union and chained the errors, always on the same scenario: exaltation, disappointment, disagreement. The ingredients for success are rarely met, and the chances of success depend in part on the shared link. “The feedback from entrepreneurs in a couple is quite favorable,” notes Benoît Galy.

Thus, three couples from the Cathiard family have created successful businesses: the parents, Florence and Daniel, owners of Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux, their daughter Mathilde, who developed the Caudalie brand with her husband, Bertrand Thomas, and his sister Alice, who launched itself with her husband, Jérôme Tourbier, in the luxury hotel industry. If they do not all know this success, the couples have the advantage of being able to leave on a flexible basis. “In terms of remuneration, especially as it falls into the common pot, Benoît Galy analyzes, but also for schedules and commitments related to children. However, difficulties can arise if one exploits the other too much. Between brothers and sisters is it, on the other hand, impossible to ignore family history.Compulsory participation, therefore with the danger of seeing the jealousy of the past rise again … In short, in the couple as with siblings, when the affect becomes involved, the association can swing dangerously.

A pact … before a notary. “Finally, it is less risky to associate with someone you have known in the professional setting,” exclaims Benoît Galy. But it is necessary to guard against disaster scenarios. Typical example, pointed out by Benoît Galy: “Two friends put a few thousand euros in a box and start at 50-50. After a few months, one of them decides to look elsewhere. Impossible to force him to return his shares: whether he works or not, he owns half of the company. The parade? Prepare everyone’s goals from the start to eliminate any misunderstanding about key issues: how much is a decent salary? Is it a priority to hire or to pocket? Is a future acquisition a goal in itself or an opportunity to be explored?

Benoît Galy also advises to set out a few operating principles in writing in a partner pact, which can be submitted to a notary: salary changes, distribution of dividends, automatic redemption clause on the day a partner leaves, option purchase or sale of shares at. five or ten years, advance clause if one of the partners dies. This pact also makes it possible to appoint an arbitrator
in case of disagreement. A useful precaution, because in business, disinterested friendships are rare.

Fred og Farid: Sponsors of the advertising agency Fred & Farid

More than 100 campaigns carried out together in twenty years. Fred Raillard and Farid Mokart, 42 and 45, continue to surf on their professional love at first sight. Farid analyzes, Fred synthesizes. A contribution preserved by rules: “We talk to each other every day, we have the same number of shares, the same titles, we do not receive congratulations without mentioning the other, and we get people out of our lives who want us to share ! “

Sophie Noucher

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