My wife, back when she was just my girlfriend, liked to move apartments a lot. When I say a lot, I mean all the time. Sometimes multiple times a year. So, I was unfortunate enough to get to move couches, fish tanks, and other ridiculously large things on a regular basis. I remember a time when I had to get an extra-large fish tank down stairs with a nice 90 degree bend halfway down the stairs. From there, I had to take it through the living room, out through the garage and into the back of the moving truck. I tried everything I could think of to get that thing maneuvered to the top of the stairs by myself and couldn’t even budge it. Thankfully, one of her roommates’ boyfriends showed up to help and together (with a lot of struggle and effort) we managed to get it loaded up.
Sometimes, as a business person, you encounter challenges that seem impossible to overcome. Rather than giving up and deciding you can’t chase down a potential source of income, there is another option. Even though working together can be a struggle and take effort in its own way, there are a lot of benefits to teaming up. Use these three tips with all of your strategic partners and you’ll be overcoming seemingly-impossible obstacles in no time!
Find a partner who matches your ideals and work ethic
Think of a potential partner business from a culture and personality standpoint. Do they have similar views on how to treat customers? Can they benefit equally from the relationship or is there an upside imbalance? Just like any human interaction, these things play a major role in how successful the venture can be.
You want to make sure that you are teaming your organization with a like-minded company so that you can reduce the likelihood of friction or outright disagreements down the road. It’s very similar to starting a friendship, in that you need to be able to clearly communicate, be honest with each other and spend a lot of time together. Think of it this way, it’s a lot harder to get an entire house full of boxes on a moving truck with someone who didn’t really want to help in the first place!
Establish the benefit for each party
Once you are aligned with a business that you can easily work and communicate openly with, you need to lay out the tools that you each have at your disposal and come up with ways that you can complement and benefit each other’s bottom line.
The whole idea of a strategic partnership is to find ways that you can both benefit from the affiliation, whether that is through referring potential customers, integrating your products in a way that benefits both companies, or even just an opportunity to learn something from each other. Using our moving analogy, myself and the roommate’s boyfriend can make the whole move easier on each other by working together.
Track, grow and realize improvement from networking
Make sure that neither side lets the momentum slow or stop. If a person says they will come over and help you move, it only helps if they actually move some boxes. Both parties need to work equally hard to ensure success of the joint venture.
Too often, we form these coalitions and then just let them dwindle away into obscurity. We all know that it is easy to get busy or caught up in our own lives, but forming partnerships and not taking full advantage of them is not only a waste of time, but also a waste of a great opportunity.
If you find someone who is a hard worker to help you get the armoire down the stairs, set clear goals for how to do it without scraping up the walls, execute your plan without breaking anything, and you will have a great move.
In business, if you find the right partner, establish clear boundaries and goals for the union, and then track the success garnered by each then you will be able to benefit both businesses and their customers.