Partnering Resources helps individuals, teams, and organizations thrive in our networked world. They provide management-consulting services that help organizations develop sound, resilient strategy; navigate change successfully; and collaborate across boundaries to find innovative solutions to complex problems.
Founder Maya Townsend knew from an early age that she would start her own business one day. She grew up with one professor parent and one consultant parent and so had a model of how to function as a independent, self-motivated, and driven professional. Townsend built the foundation for Partnering Resources by working internally within organizations to gain the experience she needed to go out on her own. During her career in the field of organizational development and change, Townsend helped clients align people and resources to achieve their goals. When she began planning to launch her own enterprise, Partnering Resources, Townsend looked to SCORE to fill her knowledge gaps.
Townsend co-edited the Handbook for Strategic Human Resources: Best Practices in Organization Development from the OD Network which came out in 2012. She has written articles and blogs for Inc. magazine online, American Management Association, and Quiet Revolution. Townsend continues to speak at conferences nationally and internationally on the subjects of strategy, change, and networks.
Recently, Townsend launched a new sister business called ‘New Networking’ at thenewnetworking.com. It is a person-to-person business, a departure from Partnering Resources, which focuses on business-to-business services. The New Networking came out of a demand at the individual level from people who sought new ways of developing and sustaining networks. Townsend draws on research about how networks operate to identify practices that allow people to succeed, even if they’re not comfortable with traditional networking practices.
"Something that makes me very proud is that my business has grown such that I have developed a cadre of employees that I’ve bring on as needed to staff projects. It makes me very proud to know that I have been able to give these wonderful people opportunities, chances to build their networks, and clients who recognize them for the amazing consultants that they are."
A call to SCORE Worcester put Townsend in touch with mentor Peter Allen, a retired business development consultant. “Pete was absolutely tremendous,” Townsend says. “He coached me through my business plan and asked challenging questions that I hadn’t considered. He got me to think about all the practical aspects to running a business—projecting finances, handling insurance—and how to do them. What’s more, his advice helped me land three clients before I formally started my practice.”
Even with such a fast start, Townsend knew she needed a solid marketing strategy. To get objective feedback on her website, she tapped SCORE’s online counseling resources and contacted Bob Ross. “Bob critiqued my ideas about format and content and provided examples of other websites to look at,” she says. “It was so easy to work with SCORE, yet I received so much valuable information and advice.”
“I’m very busy, very happy, and very grateful to SCORE,” she says. “Everything goes back to the thinking I did with [my mentor] Pete when I was developing my business plan... He forced me to think about scenarios: ‘What if it doesn’t go as expected? How was I going to sustain my business?' His rigor and challenges got me much better prepared for my business launch. I have never, ever, thought about closing doors, largely because I’m prepared for the unexpected."
Townsend says, “SCORE offers such a tremendous service, I can’t believe everyone doesn’t use it. The quality of mentoring and advice is great. I couldn’t have gotten this far, this fast without them.”
At first it was a scary transition for Townsend, going from a full-time employee with a steady stream of income, to an independent consultant who does not know when the next paycheck is going to come. It took some time to get used to the uncertainty.
“It’s a challenge to maintain a steady cash flow during natural ebb and flows of work,” she says. “Pete mentored me to anticipate this issue and identify ways of mitigating those effects. With his guidance, I secured several long-term clients and developed partnerships with colleagues in complementary fields. Although most start-ups don’t break even in their first year, Pete had me on track to make a profit in Year One.”
More recently, Townsend has faced the challenge of reinvention. In 2014 she started imagining and envisioning what was next for Partnering Resources. Today, the business helps organizations discover innovative solutions to complex problem, such as collaborating across sectors to improve healthcare. Another growing service area is helping companies position themselves to respond quickly when markets surprise them with unexpected changes by creating resilient strategy.
Throughout her work over the last twenty years, Townsend has learned that her business lives and dies on the strength of her relationships. She advises all entrepreneurs, "Relationships are important. Travel through the world with friendliness, collegiality, and generosity."