Business Management

4 Types of Win-Win Partnerships That Will Help Grow Your Business

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Business Management, Flipping Houses, Personal Development
39 Articles Written

“In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying, so get in motion and grow.” – Lou Holtz

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Scary to think that is the reality, but isn’t it the truth?

It is really hard to stay stagnant in life. Take any area of your life. You are either growing in that area or dying in that area. When you ask most real estate investors about where they are, they would of course shake their heads "yes" when asked, "Do you want to grow?"

Although most of us would agree of the importance of growing, many of us (including me sometimes!) resist the idea of growing. There is a lot that comes along with growing, such as the requirement of being more effective at managing time, money, and people. Over the years, we have had some phenomenal partnerships, and we have also had horrible ones. Most partnerships (business relationships) work well due to the fact each party gets something out of the relationship (win-win). The reason that most partnerships don’t work well (and fail unfortunately) is that one person gets something and the other gets nothing. Resentment and frustration build up in these situations, and the individuals no longer want to work with one another. As real estate investors, we want to do everything we can to avoid these situations!

In this post, I wanted to share some examples of “win-win” partnerships that we have experienced in our business over the years. I hope these our examples will help spark some ideas for you as you grow your business!

Landlord Apprentice Opportunity

We currently manage and own just about 90 units spread across various residential and commercial buildings. We have a property management team that consists of four people. One of the key roles of this team is the "Tenant Relations Manager." This person is responsible for screening prospective tenants, coordinating maintenance issues, managing delinquencies, collecting back rents, and managing the lease process and renewals. We have had some transition in this role, which has caused us to think a bit differently about it. Last week, we were going to put a job ad marketing this role, etc.

And then we stopped ourselves in our own tracks.

My husband and I began to discuss all the possible ways to fill this position (besides the normal ways). Instead of filling this position with a person who is looking for a job, we discussed filling the position with someone who actually aspires to become a real estate investor. In that moment, we decided to create a win-win opportunity.


Related: Real Estate Partnerships: How to Find a Great Fit & Work Together Towards Success

We created a two-page document explaining this Landlord Apprenticeship, and then got the word out to our network. Even in this overview document, we put the headings "What YOU Get" and What WE Get." Our goal is to create a win-win situation. Our "win" is to have someone in that role who not only can do the job but wants to learn the ins and outs of landlording and real estate investment. Someone who is going to go above and beyond.

The individual we hire’s “win” will be getting the opportunity to gain experience managing a large portfolio and learning about the real estate investing world. In addition to the coaching and mentoring they will receive, they will go through a learning curriculum. We are excited to bring someone fresh onto team who wants to learn and add value. We have not hired anyone yet, but I am confident that this win-win approach will yield the best outcome for everyone.

Improving Your Property Without Your Own Money

We own and manage a commercial property in the heart of Trenton, NJ. The building is about 1o,000 SF and has about 15 small businesses that occupy various offices and utilize conference room space. A few years ago, one of our tenants came to us with an idea. He wanted to begin hosting seminars in the building. However, the space in the back of our building was not quite fit out for that use.

He came to us with a win-win solution—he agrees to fit out the space with AV equipment and smart board with his own resources, and in exchange he can use space whenever he wants at no cost. We win by having an improvement made to our building without our own money. And he wins by having the space he needs to grow his business.

Free College Intern

I am sure you are well aware that there are tons of college students who are always interested in working for little or no pay to learn the real “ins and outs” of business. Over the years, we have had four interns. Some have helped around the office, another helped increase our social media presence, and another helped get our rental application onto our website. We have always enjoyed having interns.

The key to creating a win-win situation with interns is to have a solid job description put together before they begin working with you. The last thing you want this intern to be is bored because you did not plan ahead of time. The key is to have the intern work on projects that help lighten your team’s load/your load. The win for them is that they learn from you and from your growing business. The win for you is to have more hands to help with various projects. The website that we use that I would highly recommend to find interns is


Free Business Coaching

Early on when we bought the above mentioned commercial building in Trenton, NJ, we decided that in order to attract growing small businesses to rent space from us, it would be helpful to offer free business coaching to tenants and people in the community. Thus, we created a win-win partnership with SCORE, which stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives. It is now recognized as SCORE, "Counselors to America's Small Business."

Related: You Can’t Do it All: Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Assistant

Regardless, it is a national nonprofit organization that provides free business mentoring services to entrepreneurs in the United States. We have partnered with them for many years. They are able to use our small conference room space when they have appointments in the area at no charge. In return, small business owners or entrepreneurs are always learning about our space by coming to our building. The other win is to serve the community. It is important that our building and what goes on in the building gives back in some way.

I hope that these four examples have provided you with some real life examples of creating win-win business partnerships and relationships. Remember, it is not about “money” all the time. In order to create effective and lasting win-win partnerships, it often has a lot more to do with the basic idea of meeting one another’s needs.

In closing, Steven Covey said it best: “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

Keep making the best decisions to help you create win-win partnerships as you grow and expand your business!

How have you created win-win relationships within your business?

Let us know your comments and ideas in the comments section below!

Liz Faircloth has been managing and investing in real estate since 2004, along with her husband, Matt. We have built our business from scratch and now own over five million dollars in residential...
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    Replied about 5 years ago
    Great article. It’s important to point out that there is virtually no such thing as a free intern. There are certain criteria that must be met to determine whether an employment relationship exists. An employer may not use an unpaid intern to replace an employee: Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act This fact sheet provides general information to help determine whether interns must be paid the minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act for the services that they provide to “for-profit” private sector employers. Background The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines the term “employ” very broadly as including to “suffer or permit to work.” Covered and non-exempt individuals who are “suffered or permitted” to work must be compensated under the law for the services they perform for an employer. Internships in the “for-profit” private sector will most often be viewed as employment, unless the test described below relating to trainees is met. Interns in the “for-profit” private sector who qualify as employees rather than trainees typically must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over forty in a workweek.* The Test For Unpaid Interns There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. The Supreme Court has held that the term “suffer or permit to work” cannot be interpreted so as to make a person whose work serves only his or her own interest an employee of another who provides aid or instruction. This may apply to interns who receive training for their own educational benefit if the training meets certain criteria. The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program. The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination: The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment; The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern; The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff; The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded; The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship. If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern. This exclusion from the definition of employment is necessarily quite narrow because the FLSA’s definition of “employ” is very broad. Some of the most commonly discussed factors for “for-profit” private sector internship programs are considered below. Similar To An Education Environment And The Primary Beneficiary Of The Activity In general, the more an internship program is structured around a classroom or academic experience as opposed to the employer’s actual operations, the more likely the internship will be viewed as an extension of the individual’s educational experience (this often occurs where a college or university exercises oversight over the internship program and provides educational credit). The more the internship provides the individual with skills that can be used in multiple employment settings, as opposed to skills particular to one employer’s operation, the more likely the intern would be viewed as receiving training. Under these circumstances the intern does not perform the routine work of the business on a regular and recurring basis, and the business is not dependent upon the work of the intern. On the other hand, if the interns are engaged in the operations of the employer or are performing productive work (for example, filing, performing other clerical work, or assisting customers), then the fact that they may be receiving some benefits in the form of a new skill or improved work habits will not exclude them from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements because the employer benefits from the interns’ work. Displacement And Supervision Issues If an employer uses interns as substitutes for regular workers or to augment its existing workforce during specific time periods, these interns should be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over forty in a workweek. If the employer would have hired additional employees or required existing staff to work additional hours had the interns not performed the work, then the interns will be viewed as employees and entitled compensation under the FLSA. Conversely, if the employer is providing job shadowing opportunities that allow an intern to learn certain functions under the close and constant supervision of regular employees, but the intern performs no or minimal work, the activity is more likely to be viewed as a bona fide education experience. On the other hand, if the intern receives the same level of supervision as the employer’s regular workforce, this would suggest an employment relationship, rather than training. Job Entitlement The internship should be of a fixed duration, established prior to the outset of the internship. Further, unpaid internships generally should not be used by the employer as a trial period for individuals seeking employment at the conclusion of the internship period. If an intern is placed with the employer for a trial period with the expectation that he or she will then be hired on a permanent basis, that individual generally would be considered an employee under the FLSA. Where to Obtain Additional Information This publication is for general information and is not to be considered in the same light as official statements of position contained in the regulations. For additional information, visit our Wage and Hour Division Website: and/or call our toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).
    Elizabeth Faircloth Real Estate Investor from Trenton, NJ
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Thanks for commenting!
    Richard G. Investor from Alexandria, Virginia
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Hi Liz, It is good to read another one of your great articles– sorry for my absence! 🙂 You bring up some good points that I never really thought about, the idea of focusing your efforts in finding another investor in your tenant relations manager position is ideal. The experience may not be what you are looking for or actually may be over qualified as a result of placing a CL ad. But the drive, dedication, and motivation given by a like-minded individual investor is key. Being able to mold and train this person will be wonderful for your business (makes me want to move back to NY/NJ)! Also, I always believe in the barter system, if you want to call it that, not everything has to be in monetary value but discussing win-win situations between the two parties involved is a wonderful idea. I know my skills in HR, Recruiting, Marketing, Management, etc. are high in demand for many businesses. In return, getting behind the scenes one-on-one and/or training is invaluable. Thanks again for another great read —
    Ayodeji Kuponiyi Investor from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Great Article Liz! Win-Win Partnerships are the best way to grow. Alone will not get far, Together we grow fast and accomplish more.
    Jasmine Wilborne from Baltimore, Maryland
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Elizabeth, Did you ever fill the Landlord Apprenticeship position? I’m curious about me reaching out to landlord’s with this position in mind. However, I work full-time and won’t be able to give 40 hours a week to the position. I still want to learn firsthand.