How to Find the Perfect Business Partnership

03/03/2017 | by Ben Alisuag
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  • You should partner with companies that share the same values as your company. What they do will become a reflection of your own brand, so choose your partners wisely.
  • Be creative–don’t just partner for the sake of partnering. Think about what makes your company unique, and use that in your partnership strategy.
  • Be clear about expectations–if you have to, draw up an informal partner agreement.
  • Once you finish one partnership, think about how you can evolve it. Can you make it bigger? Can you reach a wider audience? Start small, and then the sky’s the limit!

As a small business owner, I’m sure you’ve realized that you cannot do everything on your own. In fact, sometimes the work or effort of a specific project might requires resources from outside of your team. That is why some entrepreneurs develop strategic partnerships to help them with their business. We describe the various types of partnerships in this blog post here. Once you decide what type of partnership is right for your business, you can start the matching process.

The tough thing about most partnerships is that they are just like marriages, and if you know anything about those statistics, you know half of all marriages don’t survive. Making a marriage work involves handling a volatile mix of partnership issues. Often times, the benefits of partnership more than outweigh the cons, but we recommend adhering to these 5 best practices to maximize your chances of success.

  1. Make sure there is alignment between the two companies. You should share the same values with your partners. As soon as you work together, what they do becomes a reflection of your own brand. I would avoid working with companies whose name dominate the headlines, and not in a good way. I know it may be tempting to work with a popular brand, but working with a negative brand may have long-term consequences for your own business.
  2. Be creative. Don’t partner with someone just for the sake of partnering. Think about what you do really well, and what you might be able to offer to another company. You should feel confident about the value you bring to the table; that’ll motivate the partner to make this partnership a success. Maybe you run a juice shop, and you want to partner with a local gym nearby. You can agree to blast a promotion for the gym through your email channels and social media, and the gym could start selling your juices at their register. This is a mutually beneficial partnership. The brands are very well-aligned as they are both concerned with health and fitness.
  3. Be clear about expectations. This is something you need to do right away. Be 100% clear about what is expected from each partner. If you are participating in a cross promotional email campaign, make sure you know how many times each partner will send an email, to how many people, and even at what time. Due to the nature of partnerships, every detail and obligation must be clearly defined and written out, and agreed upon by all parties.
  4. Make sure you like working with them. You don’t want to do business with jerks. Even if it seems like a great opportunity, you’ll put yourself in more trouble if you force yourself to work with immoral or dishonest people. There are plenty of fish out there; you don’t need to settle 🙂
  5. Follow-up. Just because you finish one partnership, don’t stop there. Think about how you might evolve the partnership. Can you do something bigger? Can you involve other stakeholders? Use the data from your recent venture as evidence for why another partnership could be profitable for both parties.

Throw in some employees you must manage, and you have a good idea of the work required to make a business partnership successful.

Hide Summary
Show Summary
  • You should partner with companies that share the same values as your company. What they do will become a reflection of your own brand, so choose your partners wisely.
  • Be creative–don’t just partner for the sake of partnering. Think about what makes your company unique, and use that in your partnership strategy.
  • Be clear about expectations–if you have to, draw up an informal partner agreement.
  • Once you finish one partnership, think about how you can evolve it. Can you make it bigger? Can you reach a wider audience? Start small, and then the sky’s the limit!