Business partnerships are one of the best ways of growing your business. It helps take the pressure off you, adds to your pool of resources and lets you bounce ideas off another partner. Especially when you are growing and scaling your business, strategic partnerships are the key to mitigate risks and ensure a good foundation for your new ventures.
You may partner with another business, organization or entity over a single program, an entire project, or a new venture. Business partnerships may also result in the shared ownership of your core business. For this reason, it is important that you get business partnerships right.
To make the most of the opportunity that a business partnership offers, you must be ready for it. Following are some secrets from leading business figures that will help you establish a reliable and fruitful partnership for your business.
1. Establish a Partnership in Trust
You have to look for the right resources, personnel and value in the partner you seek. For instance, if you are going towards vertical integration, you need a partner who has the resources to take care of a particular aspect of the integration.
That being said, resources or the material value of a partner alone is not enough. You also need to be able to trust the business or entity you are partnering with. So when you are looking for partners, shortlist the ones that meet the material requirements. Then analyze each potential partner, have some preliminary meetings and determine the ones you can actually trust. The trust is going to help you forge a reliable partnership with potential for long-term collaboration.
2. Collaborate Creatively
Collaborative tools such as telephone conferences, Skype calls and video meetings have been around for a while. However, the modern workload requires more creative collaborative tools and solutions. You can create your own in-house collaboration apps, get available tools off the market and think of other out-of-box innovations. You can, for instance, seek partnering session facilitation and couple that with more conventional tools like video and Skype.
This helps you outsource the logistics of the partnership while ensuring its key features – clear communication, smooth collaboration and professional environment. You can hire talent from across the world, both offline and online, to facilitate the partnership sessions every time. In time, you can train your own employees to conduct and facilitate the sessions with a focus on shared objectives and goals.
3. Share the Right Information
Sharing is the key to a healthy business partnership. You may share relevant information when reaching consensus for business decisions. You can also share any ideas or plans you have for new products, ventures and projects. This helps your partners feel involved in the entire process and ensures decisions that have a broader support.
You may even share information that is not directly relevant to the partnership itself. Bounce your general thoughts and ideas against your partners, see how they think and feel, let them criticize you and your decisions, learn to accept valid criticism and evolve your strategies accordingly. Like any relationship, a business partnership is a holistic connection. Try not to limit it to business rules and legal requirements – let it burgeon by taking in more and grow organically.
4. Confront and Question
When you have business partners, there is going to be a difference of opinion and conflict. That is understandable. In fact, that is one of the key reasons why business partnerships are promising. Conflict and differences help reach decisions that are ultimately more beneficial, better tested and more likely to succeed.
Still, it is good to be prepared for conflict. You can do so by defining some ground rules for discussion and disagreements. A quality facilitator can moderate partnership sessions and handle conflicts professionally while maintaining the attendees’ focus on a unified resolution.
It is also important that you don’t shy away from questioning and confronting partners when required. The key is to avoid disrespect and seek to make things clearer, better understand your partners and ensure progress towards the shared goals.
5. Build the Relationship on More than Money
Money alone can’t guarantee a reliable business partnership. No matter the amount of money a partner brings to your business, if the relationship lacks trust and isn’t complementary, it is likely to fail. Ideally, you should look for partners who would complement the skill-set you already have. So for instance if you are an art startup with many creatives that is looking to expand, you can find a partner who would add members with more technical know-how. Complementary partnerships help you cover all bases as you expand and scale your business.
Business partnerships are both an opportunity and a risk. 80% business partnerships fail simply because the partners don’t do the necessary homework. This is why it is vitally important to think a partnership through before you put it in writing and make it formal. Trust is one of the key ingredients and only partnerships that bring the right skill-set to your business make sense. With the tips provided above, you will have significantly better odds of forging one of the 20% partnerships that do succeed.
Sylvia Peters is a Collaborator for Find A Facilitator and a mother of two.
She’s also an expert to bringing the most credible, experienced and personable facilitation to every meeting she attended. In her free time you will find her meditating and making her favorite salad.