My Library and Courses
Last Update: Tuesday July 27, 2021

Key Idea: Respect Your Partner's Talent

Bill Keller and his wife Joan are a two-person admiration society.

Key Question:


Both Bill and Joan spoke about how much they admire and respect each other.  This is exactly how partners need to feel to build a business that lasts over the long haul.

Bill and Joan have been in love for 30 years.  They love each other and they love the business that they have created. Some couples tell us you should not even try to work in a business together if your relationship is not already strong.

  How does this couple manage the personal and business relationship?

They divide and conquer. They have clearly defined areas of responsibilities and they don't get in each other's way.

Janet and David Milly, who own Theatrical Lighting, never eat lunch together and Janet said, "we try not to take work home with us." This is probably impossible, but the fact that they try is significant.
Every couple we have studied here has their own set of coping mechanisms. What Bill and Joan are doing that is common among all great companies owned and operated by a couple: they respect each other, they admire each other and they stay out of the other person's specialization.

Q: Why are so many couples successful at growing a business?

A: Two heads are better than one. This has many implications. With a couple the company has two sets of natural talents and abilities that no one person could possibly have. Two people have twice as much time as one person. You may laugh at this, but a business often requires a 24-hour daily commitment. With a couple, each person can give 12 hours and nobody dies. Two people can work for the price of one. A couple can live on one salary. A couple can live on one retirement fund. A couple can make it with one car. Starting and growing a business takes sacrifice. When the couple is in it together, there isn't someone at home complaining that there is no new furniture.

You should know that Janet told us that the startup phase brought she and David very close. And she warns that when the business gets strong and stable that you still have to keep working on the marriage!

Think about it

Do you have great respect for the talents of the people on your leadership team? Do you have great respect for the talents of everyone on your payroll? If not, why not?

Clip from: Le Travel Store in the Gaslamp Quarter

San Diego:  Joan and Bill Keller, founders of Le Travel Store,  have traveled so much,  you ask, "Where haven't you been?"  One answer was "The Antarctica." But, they got close -- Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego - Patagonia down on the tip of Argentina, the most southern city on earth and on a clear day ... of course, Joan and Bill Keller have the Antarctica on their list, but compared to most people, their list is rather short.

Become an independent traveler, but do it with panache. Take some of your customers, your investors, CPA and banker, and of course, your family with you. Source the world. 

Also, this team is well-grounded in their community. They lead the "return to authenticity" movement that champions Main Street. The National Trust for Historic Preservation led us to them and this historic Gaslamp Quarter!

Go to all the key ideas and video...
Go to the homepage for this episode...

Le Travel Store (BK)

Bill Keller, Founder

745 Fourth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Visit our web site:

Office: 6195440005

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1975

Respect Your Partner's Talent

HATTIE: Can you talk about business partnerships? What are the problems with having a partner?

JOAN: The problem that I see in other partners, and we've actually had in our relationship as well, is undervaluing the other person's contribution. You don't--you know, you get so wrapped up in what you're giving, which is always your all, that you start to criticize and challenge one another about what the other person is giving. It's just something to be aware of. I think the good part about working with a spouse--a couple of good parts--but one is that it's a partnership with love, so, you know, you have more of an incentive to work through those things and to appreciate that other person. Another good thing is that sometimes people's careers take them apart, and in our case it cements us together, you know.

Everything we're involved in is together. Another thing that we've done in working together, and that is, we each have our specific areas of responsibility and authority. You know, I have the final word in certain areas, and he has the final word in certain other areas.

Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!