By: Erin Botsford and Julie England

Sometimes a business opportunity is right under your nose. It’s so close you do not recognize it. Here’s a story of a first business alliance for me as an artist. Our paths crossed years ago and our paths developed independently. We met through a women’s business organization and we found we both are contributing editors to PRiME Women Magazine. Like most business partnerships, necessity is the mother of invention or in this case, business partnering is spurred by a new way to satisfy a current need.

Organizational Chart  ,Executive chair, manager chair, staff chair

The story begins… We became acquainted on a social basis first and then learned more about each other’s business experience and aspirations for our paths. In that process we learned about each other’s careers, family and passionate work.

It turned out that Julie’s oil painting was a potential solution for Erin’s marketing needs. They found a common ground in marketing and then, common objectives for a specific project …using Julie’s art to illustrate Erin’s customized greeting cards to her financial services clients nationally. From Erin’s perspective, her business provides customized solutions for her clients financial needs; she was looking for a unique look and feel for the greeting cards that better reflected her financial brand. Julie’s art provided that solution, and knew immediately she wanted to feature Julie’s designs for this project.

This partnership is a small scale; however, it has some elements you find in large commercial partnerships. According to a 2013 McKinsey analysis Avoiding Blind Spots in Your Next Joint Venture, there are four planning stages of your partnership and time spent planning is best spent proportional to the risk perceived.

  • Business case and internal alignment
  • Business model and Structure
  • Deal Terms
  • Launch and Operating Model

Teaming up for success is a Win-win and can reinforce a friendship. As Carol Meyers stated in the December issue of Prime Women, “Every woman starting her own business is bound to find the partnerships she forges with her mentors and advisers invaluable in helping her overcome the hurdles she’ll face along the way.”

“We’re looking forward to working together in the future,” says both Julie and Erin.

Ellis Serpentine 3 Dec 30 2014 a

Prime Women’s Contributing editors Julie England and Erin Botsford have partnered on a first project with more to follow. Erin’s firm, Botsford Financial Group is using Julie’s art to create customized greeting cards for financial planning clients. This is partnership resulted from a friendship they started through their affiliation within a women’s business organization. See Julie’s art images at


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