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Partnering With an Older Partner

How to deal with the unique challenges involved with bridging the generation gap
December 16, 2002

Let's say you meet a software developer who shows you his latest product. You become convinced that his product is the next "killer app," and will make a fortune for whomever brings it to market, so you propose to form a new business in which you and the developer will be 50/50 partners.

There's only one problem. The developer is 76 years old, a retired engineer who plays around with computer software as a hobby while taking care of an ailing spouse.

Partnerships between generations can be very interesting--elderly entrepreneurs with decades of experience under their belt can be terrific mentors--but they carry with them their own special set of challenges:

Cliff Ennico is host of the PBS television series MoneyHunt and a leading expert on managing growing companies. His advice for small businesses regularly appears on the "Protecting Your Business" channel on the Small Business Television Network at E-mail him at