Honestly Woman Magazine March 2008

The two female owners of a rapidly growing digital publishing company, Direct Digital, celebrate their vast differences in what has been a remarkably successful business partnership. One is a degree educated woman in her early 30s with endless energy and creativity, and the other 20 years older, who left school when she was 16, with practicality and ‘street-smarts’ as her driving force.

Managing Director Mandy Stevens describers heer partnership with Director Helen Creswick as an ‘unlikely pairing’, Ms Stevens studied at university for seven years, earning dual degrees including law with first class honours, before starting a career as a solicitor. Ms Creswick, on the other hand, is 20 years her senior and left school at the age of 16. She spend most of her working life in secretarial/personal assistant roles until finding herself a single mother in her forties. She taught herself web design in order to generate extra income from home, right at the time when the internet was emerging.

Ms Stevens indicated that their very differences are the glue that holds the partnership together.

‘Helen is a very clever person, and her instincts are refined. She is savvy with technology and understands that side of the business very well. Helen helps to break down ideas that I have and sort through those that might work. It is also a saving grace that our personalities don’t clash!’ she said.

Ms Creswick agrees, saying that Mandy’s strengths are her vision, energy and creativity. ‘We both have difference skills and leave each other to do what we are best at, rather than both of us trying to do the same thing. i am a lot older than Mandy and that tends to balance Mandy’s enthusiasm for thibgs’.

They also consider it a blessing that they had not been friends prior to entering their partnership.

‘I didn’t know Helen before we came up with this business idea, and I am glad for it. We defined our relationship right from the start by our roles within the business. We both agree that the business comes first, and everyting else can be resolved in the best interest of Direct Digital,” Ms Stevens said.

Ms Creswick agrees, adding, ‘People often make the mistake of going into business with friends and if things don’t work out, not only do they lose their business, but they lose a friend as well.’

Something both Ms Stevens and Ms Creswick stress was very important was the creation of a good partnership agreement