The More, the Merrier?

Make sure your business doesn't have too many cooks.
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This story appears in the March 2008 issue of Startups. Subscribe »
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On television, three was company, but in business, it can be awfully crowded. Still, some companies have made triumphs out of a triumvirate. Consider the case of Louisville, Kentucky-based B's Purses, a website where customers can design their own purse, luggage or baby gift and even host a purse party or become a B's sales rep. The 4-year-old company brought in sales of $2 million last year, and having multiple partners--Lisa Henderson, 32, Susan Gullien, 37, and Sandra Masters, 38--hasn't hurt the company at all. "The best thing about [having] three partners is the level of energy [we] feed into one another," says Henderson. "We are each extremely passionate about our company, and the enthusiasm is contagious."

But it helps that the three have always had their own specialties: Gullien works on design, Henderson's focus is marketing and Masters oversees operations. "Decide in advance who has the authority to make what types of decisions," says business consultant Francie Dalton. "Be explicit about this, and stay out of one another's sandboxes."
Edition: June 2017

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