New businesses are created on a daily basis with the objective to be profitable and have longevity in the marketplace. It takes more than a good idea and hard work to achieve this. What almost all successful businesses have in common is the establishment of strong, mutually beneficial partnerships with other companies.
It is essential to build partnerships with other businesses that are aligned with your goals in order to remain productive and to achieve continued growth. Regardless of the industry, it is paramount to look outward for opportunities to team up with others that can make positive contributions and help drive innovation.
According to Forbes magazine, one of the best ways to grow a business and gain attention for your brand is to team up with another company. “Partnering gives each party access to the others’ skill sets and resources, which can greatly expand their individual capabilities.” It is important to be “strategic” in choosing partners. Making sure they are reputable, trustworthy and talented are the first steps but there are other key elements required to have worthwhile partnerships.
As outlined by Global Management Consulting firm McKinsey & Company, here are four key principles that will help ensure a viable and enduring partnership:
- Establish a clear foundation
This emphasizes the need for both parties to be explicit and transparent about what their goals / values are. When looking for a partner, it’s important to find common ground even if there are obvious differences in culture, communication and expectations. When both parties have a clear understanding of each other’s goals and use the same measure of success then trust and collaboration will come more easily with the partners.
- Nurture the relationship
Once the partnership has been established it is still important to make sure the relationship stays strong and is collaborative.
- Connect socially: meetings should be about the business but also focus on building a friendship and trust.
- Open Communication: keeping everyone informed seems obvious but it can get skipped once partners become comfortable with one another. Sharing things like relevant data, information and impeding issues is critical in maintaining trust and avoiding missteps in planning.
- Recognizing each other’s capabilities, cultures and motivations: essentially this means understanding which partner is best at what tasks and treating them like the subject matter expert.
- Invest in tools, processes and personnel
When looking to establish a partnership with another company make sure they are as committed as you are to investing in the tools, processes and personnel that is required to provide your business the support needed to be efficient.
- Emphasize accountability and metrics
Whenever looking to partner it is important to define what success means to each business. Establish metrics that will be used to determine that goals have been met and also how they will be tracked.