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Have Dots & Have Nots

The staff at your brick-and-mortar business are jealous of your dotcommers. How can you keep the peace?

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This story appears in the January 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Shawn Jenkins could guess what was coming. One of his employees at American Pensions sat across from him with a legal pad full of numbers-and asked for more money. What made this different from other discussions about pay? This brick-and-mortar employee with some database experience had done his research on salaries in the high-tech industry, and he knew how much tech workers earn. He also had an ever-present reminder of this profit potential: the company's new dotcom subsidiary, Benefitfocus.com Inc. "He asked for a raise, and it was due to our dotcom venture," Jenkins says.

Jenkins, 33, president and CEO of Benefitfocus, had watched as two companies-the brick-and-mortar and the dotcom spinoff-fought to coexist in the same building. On one side was American Pensions Inc., a 30-employee Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, company that services corporate-sponsored and where Jenkins is a partner. On the other side of the company's headquarters was the "Green Room," an 850-square-foot room housing 11 programmers. Sales and administrative staff were in a nearby conference room. Both rooms full of people worked for Benefit-focus, a company that lets clients manage the health and retirement benefits of their employees online.

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