Local power couple Sandra and Richard Brown know what it takes to run a successful business together. “This is our third company,” Sandra says of Modern Acupuncture. “We’re not just franchises for this location,” Sandra adds, “We’re the regional developers for the entire state.”
Sandra and Richard started their first business together when they founded Home Again, a corporate temporary housing company. After they took the business public and sold it, they looked into starting a new business. Richard says they started by studying why the company Muzak went bankrupt. “Then we formed a company that, 15 years ago, ended up in six different products.” Voice Solutions was a “sensory marketing company,” which offered a library of spa music, scents, hold messaging and more.
By the time the Browns sold Voice Solutions, they had already bought the area development rights for Modern Acupuncture. They opened the first Minnesota location last February. Running the clinic—and developing the franchise in the Midwest, for that matter—requires a delegation of tasks. A boon of working together so long, the Browns explain, is knowing your business partner’s strengths and weaknesses. “Sandra’s very methodical,” says Richard, “A leads to B, B leads to C. Crosses the Ts, dots the Is. Very good operationally. I’m not that way at all. I’ll go from A to C, come back and get B. I’m more strategic at sales and Sandra’s more operational. And that’s worked for us,” Richard begins before Sandra takes over, “because we can divide and conquer.”
Working with your spouse also easily jumps some hurdles that can become obstacles in a purely professional relationship. Aside from implicit trust and shared aims, “You don’t have to worry about office politics,” Sandra says. “None of that, ‘What does my boss think of me today?’ I don’t have to worry about that.”
She adds, “I know about him; I know how he grew up, I know what his philosophy has been for many, many years, so I understand where he’s coming from. Even though sometimes I don’t agree with it, at least I understand where he’s coming from and what’s driving the thought process.”
So, what’s the trick to working with your significant other? “At the end of the day—and this is key,” Richard says, “you have to respect the other person’s business acumen, their judgement, because if you don’t, you’re going to roll over them. I know there’s things she does that I can’t do, and vice versa.”
Over the years, the Browns have seen other couples go awry in business because they didn’t respect one another as professionals. “We’ve learned—in life and in business—you have to communicate, and then resolve conflict,” Richard says. “If you can’t communicate, you can’t even get to resolving conflict but if you can communicate without conflict you’ve got a homerun here.”
4733 County Road 101