Businesses that are built upon sturdy foundations will be able to withstand the ups and downs that come with running a business. One way to begin building a strong foundation is to build strong partnerships.
Business development is about more than short-term growth. It is about harnessing practices that will foster fruitful relationships, which will encourage success in the future, not just at the onset. When you build partnerships, you are doing more than just accumulating clients one-by-one. While both are important, concentrating on generating leads through partnerships will prove more productive and prosperous, even though it may take a little longer to see results.
What are the best methods to start developing these partnerships? Here are some of my tips for preparing and implementing these methods.
Yes, in some cases being selective can be better for your business. Prioritize by narrowing down your options to those that would make the most sense for your business. Think: what do you provide your customer base? You would want to find a partner that shares a similar buyer as you so your services can work together to not only benefit the buyer, but benefit both of you.
It’s Not A Competition
Sharing a customer base with a partner may mean that an opportunity for a sale may overlap. It is important that you have some sort of arrangement in place so that clients can be delegated to the appropriate business so that you both aren’t stealing business from one another. These partnerships are meant to increase sales on both sides, not to take them away.
Quick leads are great, but they aren’t always rewarding in the long-term. Partnerships are centered around relationship building, which takes times. Both sides should be aware of this at the beginning so that impatience doesn’t cause the relationship to be cut short. Use this time to build a strong connection so that when the growth does start to happen, you will already have a stable alliance.
You Scratch Their Back And They’ll Scratch Yours
Just like in personal relationships, both sides should be focused on helping one another grow. It’s the same for businesses. Your goal is to expand, but so is your partner’s. Think about how you can positively impact them when you make your pitch!
Have An Exit Plan
Even if you follow these guidelines perfectly, it doesn’t guarantee a healthy partnership. You might realize down the road that, for whatever reason, you just can’t find a mutual ground with your partner where both of you are benefitting from the relationship. Avoid making long-term contractual agreements at the beginning in case things don’t go as planned. You don’t want to be locked into a dysfunctional partnership that could end up hurting your business. Also, by making it clear that both sides have the choice to leave at any time, it will make each side work a little harder to maintain a relationship that is working.
Business development that is focused on strategic partnerships will plant seeds that may require extra care at the beginning, but will bear fruit in the years to come. Be selective, develop a strategy that will work for both sides, and develop a mutual trust for one another and you will soon reap the benefits.