The Partner Problem: Choosing The Right Strategic Partners3 min read
Your daily interactions with the people you work with—business partners, employees, customers—reflect you as an individual and reflect who you are as a business. They are extended parts of your greater self, and your clients will look to those when evaluating you as a business. So how do you choose who to work with?
PERQ is in the game of strategic categorization—dividing how we think into smaller parts in order to have large success. Here are a few ways that we manage how the people we work—and who works with us—and how we win results for them.
Choosing the right business strategic partner is not just about figuring out who affects our own monetary growth. It’s about finding a partner who shares our goals. To that end, we evaluate them based on how well they achieve their goals.
With our suppliers, we evaluate them on two levels: execution and deliverability. But the process is remarkably similar. When we first talk with possible business partners, we ask them to choose their number one service—what they do best—and we ask them to showcase this to prove their merit.
Anyone can sit down and point out flaws in a company, but we ask business partners to showcase what they do best. By analyzing their strengths, we can see any weaknesses and can evaluate whether those weaknesses are big enough to compromise a relationship. Secondly, history is important to us. How can they showcase both execution and deliverability in their previous relationships? If they can’t, that’s a deal-breaker.
The hardest category. You’re dealing with first impressions—how they respond in an interview—and you’re also dealing with evaluating an employee based on their performance in the next year, the next five years.
At PERQ, we’ve been able to define our culture in a few words: grit, savvy, magnetism, and competitive greatness. In an interview, we’re looking the most at savvy and magnetism—or at least these are what we’re able to witness in just an hour-long interview. The rest of the elements are defined in the next several years. Stress accumulates, and people respond differently: despondent, disgruntled, inspired. We gauge employees like we gauge business partners, in that we look at their history and their greatest strengths.
Every employee will have their weaknesses, but we put them in positions where their strengths will be highlighted—where they will have the best opportunities to win.
We don’t necessarily choose our customers—we’re willing to help everyone achieve their goals and have the resources necessary to do so—but we do have preferences. We can very quickly understand how well we’re going to be able to help a business. Direct mail, promotions, increasing sales—we can identify exactly how we can help a new client. How do we provide value?
We have two categories for clients: New and Cycle Clients (those we’ve been working for before). If we can’t promise value and new sales to them, then why work for them? We’ve advertised and promoted a service, so we have to be able to follow through. We won’t promise what we can’t accomplish, so we focus on communicating the ways we’ve succeeded before. Even with cycle clients—evaluating the value we provide them. And it works.
What you need to come away with is that evaluation is key. Define your goals and then define how well the people you work with achieve these. Pay attention to their goals. See how they intertwine with yours, and if they match, then you’ve gained a new partner.