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William de Ora and Louise Woodbury are the authors of "The Invisible Partnership" and "The Invisible Entrepreneur". They have been happily married for 16 of the 17 years they have been working together. They run a consultancy called Quantum Dynamics and teach couples how to work together without getting divorced.

CelebrityDialogue: Please provide a brief description of your book The Invisible Partnership.

William: The Invisible Partnership is as the subtitle says: It helps readers understand “how to work with your spouse without getting divorced.” It is our life journey. It is the story of how we turned our marriage, which was teetering on the verge of divorce and emotional bankruptcy, into a happy, healthy life together while creating a well-oiled business that is more profitable than ever before.

Louise Woodbury and William de Ora - Authors, speakers, entrepreneurs

This is not textbook stuff or regurgitating what others have said and done. The learning provided in the book has been successfully implemented with many business couples who work together. We provide a true perspective, without the business jargon, of how to have a successful relationship while working together with your life partner in your own business.

The Invisible Partnership shows the way for couples to structure a business based on their core values, to deliver the life and profitability they always wanted. In essence, the feedback so far is that The Invisible Partnership has transformed the lives of manysmall business ownerswho are working together. Many of these couples might otherwise have ended in divorce.

CelebrityDialogue: Why is it so difficult for husband and wife to cope with a business partnership even when they are already sharing life together?

William: The Australian Bureau of Statistics says that most people aged 35-64 have been in at least one live-in relationship and that 95 percent of these relationships have ended in failure.. This would be similar in the US. And the National Business Incubator Association (NBIA) revealed that 80 percent of new businesses fail within the first five years. Now, when you put this together, you have a lethal combination. The potential for failure among couples working together, if you don’t know how to handle the relationship, can be extreme.

Couples go into business together without really thinking through what it will take to work successfully together. Like any couple in the honeymoon stage of the “happily-ever-after” dream, we believed that we could be married and have a successful working partnership as easily as we had fallen in love.

The reality is very different. Partners inevitably are opposite. This is both a blessing and a curse. If you don’t know how to harness the differences, it can lead to conflict that can turn into emotional trauma.

One of the many issues we address is the issue of leadership. The leadership model that is required for couples in business is very different than the model required in a normal business. We call this the “Fluid Leadership” model.  In this model, the leadership can oscillate between the two partners at the speed of light. People around the partners can be confused as to who is leading, and even the partners themselves can end up confused as to what is taking place. So, the result is often that one of the partners inevitably feels angry, hurt, alone, and ripped off. Or depressed. Or just numb. But it doesn’t need to be this way. The Invisible Partnership helps people step through this minefield.

CelebrityDialogue: We know a lady who supported her husband for a number of years while he was struggling with a business, yet he divorced her later when she tried to set up her business. Why do such things happen?

William: We call this the “Silverback Gorilla Syndrome.” Here’s an extract from The Invisible Partnership. “The silverback male gorilla is a strong and powerful leader who typically has had to fight his way to the top. His name comes from the distinctive patch of silver hair on his back. He can be intimidating. He commands, puts up with no dissent, and demands to be the center of attention.

Without a doubt, silverbacks are strong, dominant leaders. They make all the decisions, mediate conflicts, determine the movements of the group, lead the others to feeding sites, and take responsibility for the safety and well-being of all. The silverback experiences fulfillment primarily through success and accomplishment.

But when the silverback is challenged, say by a younger male or an outsider, he will scream, beat his chest, break branches, bare his teeth, and then attack. When that happens, it is a terrifying sight. But this type of intimidation is how the silverback ultimately controls and conquers those around him.

Most “would-be” adversaries back off without taking him on. No one has any doubt about who’s the boss. The silverback is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Unchecked, he can also be very destructive.”

So, what happens when the wife takes on her true role as an equal leader? It can be very threatening to a “silverback..” The result can be that he moves on to a partner who isn’t competing or challenging to be his equal.

CelebrityDialogue: Would you like to give an example of how your book was helpful for a particular couple coping with business?

William: This is best summed up by the feedback we received about the book from a dentist and his wife. The wife said: “I was constantly propping up my husband. I was feeling like I was running a day-care center. I didn’t want to take on the running of the practice, but this was what he wanted me to do. It was up to me to constantly be coming behind him, fixing up the mess he was creating. In reading The Invisible Partnership I saw that there was a way, without compromising myself or threatening my husband’s ego, to take a leadership position. The Invisible Partnership helped us both to understand our differences and work to our strengths without competing with each other. What is unique about The Invisible Partnership is that we could really identify with your journey.”

CelebrityDialogue: Tell us about your book The invisible Entrepreneur.

William: The Invisible Entrepreneur: How to Grow Your Business By Taking 3 Months Off! was released before The Invisible Partnership, but it should have been other way around.

We took three months off to reconnect with each other. At that time we had a staff of 17 people. In small business, it is difficult to take three months off without having to run the business remotely. We wanted to set the business up so it could operate without depending on the owners, that is us.

It took us approximately 18 months to set up our business so that we could take three months off. However, by using The Invisible Entrepreneur, we know business owners who have done it within less than four months. The secret is having the right people. And, secondly, it is a risk management process. Both factors are well documented in The Invisible Entrepreneur.

CelebrityDialogue: What is the key to setting up a successful business?

Louise: It really depends on the owner. If an owner wants to create a job for himself or herself it will be very different than if a person wants to set up a business that can be sold at a substantial price.

We subscribe to the point of view that the business should be set up to sell. So, the number one factor is to have a clear idea as to what is your intention and when you want to achieve that goal. This becomes your reason, your “why.” It is the context of the business. If the entrepreneurs don't have a compelling reason “why” then they cannot maintain a constant focus for a long period. They can be distracted or seduced by the never ending flow of new ideas.

Second, it is important to surround yourself with the right people. So, if you know “why” and when, then the entrepreneur can set up the game plan with the team.

Third, when you have the game plan in place, don’t get attached to the outcome. Instead play the game full on.

CelebrityDialogue: Is it really possible for a small business owner to take time off in a way that does not affect the business negatively. Is doing such a thing recommended?

William: Absolutely. Any business, no matter what or who they are, can be structured so that the owners can take three months off. We have one client, a structural engineer, who recently worked up to take two months off. Remember, he is a one-man band. When we first started working with him he couldn’t afford to take any more than two weeks off. With any goal, there is a gestation period. Also, there is a gradient the entrepreneur can bear.

It is all very well to set audacious goals. But some goals can kill you. For example, crossing a busy highway blindfolded. However, when you know how to do it, it's not a difficult challenge to take on. Remember, I said that you need to get the right people around you and then it is a case of managing the risks. So, how a blind person can cross a busy highway is to get the assistance of a person who can see and then negotiate the traffic together.

In life there are always choices. So, if you are not able to take three months off from your business, it is because you have set up your business in a way that limits you. If you can set a business one way, you also have other options for setting up your business in a way that allows you to take time out.

CelebrityDialogue: How can your books be purchased?

William: From our website:

CelebrityDialogue: What does your company Quantum Dynamics offer to clients?

William: We are business consultants who offer consulting services to life partners who work in business together. We also serve couples when one partner is at the business and other is at home as a homemaker.

CelebrityDialogue: When and why did you set it up?

William: One of our core values is that when we leave this planet we need to help leave it in a better place than what it was before we arrived. This is our way of giving back. By helping business owners to succeed, we are creating a ripple effect that makes a difference to many others who are benefiting from that business. Such as the team, clients, suppliers and the wider community.

CelebrityDialogue: Thank you so much.

Republication of Invisible Partnership articles are permitted, given the original link and author are referenced. High resolution photos can be provided upon request.

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