How to Make Your Partnership Work

Making Partnerships Work

Eight women entrepreneurs share their strategies.

By Christine Van Dusen

Eileen Turcotte, co-founder and president of Computer Investigative Associates (Boston):

Make sure you have complementary goals and work styles.

Set up good legal agreements that spell out what is expected of each partner.

Be willing to be wrong and to compromise.

Gina Branch, owner and realtor for Realty Revolution (Plano, Texas):

Do detailed planning up front.

Consult with an attorney and CPA.
Get everything in writing.

Proceed with caution.

Iris Salsman, owner of I. Salsman PR (Clayton, Mo.):

Don’t let your personal or partnership drama infect your employees.

Don’t let it pass if you think you’re being taken advantage of.

Karen Mathews, president of Karen Mathews & Associates (Santa Clara, Calif.):

Align your goals and values.
Even if you’re friends, don’t assume that you don’t have to define the terms of your partnership.

Speak up right away when something doesn’t feel right.

Michele Ellie Ahi, president of technology for (Los Altos, Calif.):

Trust is crucial.

Don’t hurry.
Take your time to check out your potential partner’s references, and ask lots of questions.

Ceil McCloy, co-owner of Integrated Science Solutions (Walnut Creek, Calif.):
Define clear roles and responsibilities.

Set goals and make sure they mesh.

Tiffany L. Lymon, chief executive for Mind Over Money Strategies (Baltimore):

Know your strengths and weaknesses, work habits and non-negotiables.

Set up a clear exit plan.

Adelaide Fives, co-founder of In Good Company Workplaces (New York City):

Own your flaws and mistakes.


Commit to your partner.
Be flexible.
Make sure the partnership gives you more than it takes from you.

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