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  • Writer's pictureLauren Dunnaway

The Power of Sisterhood: Starting and Running a Business Together

In a world where entrepreneurship is on the rise, the idea of starting a business with a family member can be both exciting and daunting. However, when that family member is your big sister, the journey becomes even more special. This opportunity has changed the trajectory of my career, so is well worth celebrating the incredible bond and the unique advantages of starting and running a successful business with my sister, Gretchen Dunnaway Mitchell.

From the shared dreams that we both bought into, armed with the unwavering support of each other, there have been so many positive aspects of embarking on this entrepreneurial adventure together that I truly count us among the luckiest of female entrepreneurs.

1. Shared Vision and Trust:

One of the greatest advantages of starting a business with your sister is the shared vision and trust that comes naturally. Growing up together, we developed a deep understanding of each other's strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations - we were always very unique from a young age but yet had so much in common. This familiarity and closeness allowed us to skip the critical steps of learning to work with a new teammate and created seamless communication, aligned goals, and a shared commitment to success. With a sister by your side, you can trust that your business decisions will be made with the utmost care and consideration - and we've never had a problem helping each other course-correct or see a different perspective. 

2. Complementary Skills and Expertise:

Sisters often possess complementary skills and expertise, making them a formidable team in the business world. While one sister may excel in marketing and sales, the other may have a knack for finance and operations. This is definitely the case for us. This diversity of skills allows for a well-rounded business approach, ensuring that all aspects of the venture are handled with expertise and efficiency. By leveraging each other's strengths, we have created a dynamic partnership that propels our business forward.

3. Unwavering Support and Motivation:

Starting a business can be a rollercoaster ride, filled with highs and lows. During challenging times, having a sister as your business partner means having a built-in support system. Sisters inherently understand each other's emotions, dreams, and fears, providing a safe space to share concerns and find solace. Through encouragement, motivation, and a shoulder to lean on, you can navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship with unwavering support.  And I'd venture to say that our closeness extends to our Executive Team and the broader REACH Meetings & Events team.  I sincerely believe this familial culture is helping us to be a leader in this industry as our relationships are driven from the heart. 

4. Enhanced Communication and Conflict Resolution:

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful business partnership. With a sister, communication often comes naturally having so many years of shared experiences- from growing up fishing at the family ranch to cheering each other on in childhood sports and competitions, and beyond. Gretchen and I have fostered a deep understanding of each other's communication styles. (True story- nine out of ten people can't tell the difference between our voices on the phone!) Sisters are more likely to communicate openly, honestly, and directly, which can lead to efficient problem-solving and conflict resolution. This advantage allows for a smoother business operation, minimizing misunderstandings and maximizing productivity.

5. Building a Legacy Together:

Starting a business with your sister is not just about creating a successful venture; it's about building a legacy together. This is a legacy we take very seriously and we are proud to say our 81 year-old mother also is among the ranks of our 22 associates.  As sisters, we have the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on our family, community, and even future generations for our families for the extended families of our REACH team. In working side by side, we create a business that reflects our shared values, passions, and aspirations. This shared journey becomes a testament to the strength of our sisterhood and the power of collaboration.  There is not another person with whom I would rather be in business, and that contentment shows up in all that I do. 

With Gretchen by my side, we can overcome challenges, celebrate successes, and create a lasting legacy that will inspire others. Together, we can turn our dreams into reality and make a positive impact on our industry and the future.

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