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Last Update: Sunday September 23, 2018

Key Idea: Partner With An Expert

You don't have to reinvent to wheel to roll out a new product.

Key Question:


You find ways to surround yourself with smart people.

Q: What were the advantages and disadvantages of a partnership?

A: You partner with someone who has what you need and hopefully they need what you have. Andy could have purchased one of these vehicles then hired someone in Boston to build it out for his purposes. Instead, he brought Bob McDowell into his business in Boston as the equipment expert. This gave Andy a faster start and no worries about equipment. Andy focused on marketing and the people side of the business.

The disadvantages of a partnership show up when there is poor communication, lack of respect for one another, greed, lack of shared values and/or a general disillusionment with the relationship. A partnership is like a marriage. Anything you have read or experienced about what goes wrong in a marriage can also go wrong in a partnership.

Andy and Bob live more than a thousand miles apart and Bob runs his business in Branson, Missouri - completely on his own. Bob then shares in the revenues of Boston Duck Tours. The relationship is good but strained and is one of the reasons Andy is not interested in expanding outside of Boston.

Think about it

Could you grow your current business by merging with another business?  Could you grow by taking a financial partner?  Is growing worth the headaches that may come with a partner?  Do you find it easy to respect the opinion of others and let others be in the limelight?

Clip from: Boston Duck Tours: The Money is Out There

Boston: Meet Andy Wilson, founder of Boston Duck Tours. A Massachusetts Small Business Person of the Year, he turned three passions into a single business – his love of Boston, his respect for early American history, and the Charles River.

First, he wants us all to know the history of this country's early struggles for religious toleration, freedom, equality, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Learn how such passion moved him to quit his job and raise over $1M to launch this dream -- an 80-minute, historically-narrated tour from an authentic World War II amphibious landing craft.

Take the tour now as we wander the narrow streets of Boston and splash down onto the Charles River for the grande tour Boston.

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Boston Duck Tours

Cindy Brown, CEO (Andy Wilson, founder)

3 Copely Place
Suite 310
Boston, MA 02116

Visit our web site:

Office: 6172673825

Business Classification:
Entertainment / education

Year Founded: 1994

Partner With An Expert

ANDY: I researched and I found out that there were really three main duck businesses that had been flourishing, and I toured the three of them and it became very clear and evident to me that the guy in Branson, Missouri, Bob McDowell, had clearly taken this business to the highest state of being that anybody else had, in terms of tour--execution of the tour, but more importantly the equipment. So I approached him, and realized that he had taken and continually tries to strive to improve on safety and improve on reliability...

HATTIE: OK. So what is the relationship? Do you buy the finished vehicles from him? Do you spec to him what you want for Boston? How does that work?

ANDY: Well, I specced what I wanted from Boston over and above what he was already doing. I'd buy the vehicles from him and then in terms of sharing his 26 years' worth of knowledge, mechanical knowledge he's developed, I pay him--I have a licensing arrangement where I pay him a certain percentage of my gross.

But more importantly is I started helping him cash out his technology. You know, he was running his own sightseeing tour, but all of a sudden, now he's cash flowing off of his technology as a result of me. And one of my things I like to say is, `Businesspeople are ultimately much better off working together than working apart.' So I convinced him to work with me. First time he'd ever done that. So not only was it good for me, but it was good for him, and our success has helped improve his success both financially and making the duck tour concept potentially successful anywhere in the world.

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