McBride for Business Blog

Women in Business and Planning Partnerships

May 3, 2017 // R. Shawn McBride // No Comments »

R. Shawn McBride recently spoke about building a successful partnership. Here is the transcript:

Hey folks. R. Shawn McBride with you here live and I wanna talk about two very important topics today. I wanna talk about women in business and business partnerships. And no, the two are not unrelated. They are interconnected with each other and I think there’s an important thing here.

Now, some of you may know that I did a TEDx Talk about The Advantages of Women in Business and I talked in that TEDx Talk about what women do really great in business. Great news. That video just finally came out. TEDx released this, it’s up on TEDx website. I would love for you to check it out. If you go to, check out the homepage you’ll see that video. Check it out. And we’ll talk about not just women in business but women in business partnerships. So that’s the tie in to the second part of this which is business partnerships.

And I want people planning successful partnerships. I really want them to build businesses that are gonna stand the test of time. Sometimes those businesses are in the form of partnerships and there’s great synergies in having good partnerships bringing multiple people together, in a way that makes a lot of business sense. So, how do we do that? Well, it starts with good partnership agreements. And sometimes people say, “Well I’m just a single owner business, I don’t have a partner.” Well what other economic arrangements do you have? You’re probably working with someone people. I know in my business, I had a lot of different projects where I worked with other people. And these principles that I’ve learned in formal business partnerships, working with my clients and working with my business over the years also apply in informal partnerships. So, it’s a lesson that we all can use.

So, how do we build successful partnerships? How do we build businesses that stand the test of time? That do more? Well we wanna start with a very clear understanding. I tell my partners when they come to me and they want to build a business, go to a white board and think about what you want your business to look like. Write down what each of you are going to contribute. And how that’s going to work. Once we have that kind of fundamental understanding of what each partner’s putting in and what each partner’s taking out, we can understand how the partnership is going to function.

And then there’s four critical questions I asked everybody. Four things. How are we gonna deal with four very common situations that come up as businesses evolve, particularly partnerships?

Number one, death. What if one of the owners isn’t there? What happens? Typically that partner’s interest is gonna go through their estate plan. Which means it’s ending up with their spouse, maybe their children. We’ve got a complete change of the ownership of the company – unexpected – puts us in a different situation.

Number two, disability. What if one of the owners is unable to be there? They probably have income needs. They probably have things that they’re trying to accomplish. And they have time and energy invested in the business. So that disabled partner probably rightfully wants some income from the partnership. But, the partnership has ongoing operational needs, they have customers to be fulfilled and they have work to do so, we have a disconnect here. We need to have a plan in place in the event one of the partners becomes disabled.

Number three, divorce. What happens when one of the owners is no longer married? Sometimes a divorce lawyer will treat a partner’s interest much like any other asset of the divorce and they’ll just divide it. Which means we have an unexpected owner coming into the business, and a completely different situation. So, we’ve got a problem there. And so we need to plan in advance. In extreme cases, the court might move the partnership interest from one spouse to the other spouse because the first spouse may not have enough assets to cover other portions of the divorce. We don’t know what’s gonna happen if one of the partners gets divorced. We need to have a plan in place.

And the fourth D is disagreement. What if the partners disagree? What if they don’t have the same vision for the future? We now need to know what to do if they wanna separate ways. And nobody can guarantee a partnership is gonna last. I don’t think anybody can tell you that. But, we can do a lot to make that partnership protected in the event that the partners go different directions. We can protect that economic value. We can do a lot to try to minimize the chances of litigation, so we really wanna be doing this the advanced way.

Partnerships are scary. Some people say just don’t do them. I don’t give that advice, I think there’s something more to it. I think we all need to look at how to do them correctly, make sure we do partnerships right. And if you do them right, you can unlock that economic value. You can do it in a safer manner and a lot of my clients love that at the end of the day. They’ve got other people to rely on, they’ve got other people involved in the business. It can do so much, just has to be done correctly. So, plan your partnerships correctly. Make sure you work through the four Ds.

If you’ve got questions, issues, let us know. We love to collect content. You know, we’ve been spreading the message out. Trying to help more people understand these issues connected to their business. So, let us know what’s keeping you awake at night. Let us know what’s bothering you. What content do you need and we’ll tailor something for you. So, I’m R. Shawn McBride signing off here. Thanks for tuning in today and I’ll talk with you again soon.

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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique.  Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Simon Jackson.


About the Author

R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment (, gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at or (214) 418-0258.


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