If you are looking to grow your business, it matters to invest in forming strategic partnerships with other organizations. Your success will depend on the quality of your network, so you must look for business partners within and outside your industry who can bring more opportunities to the table.
Then again, building a partnership doesn’t happen in an instant. It’s a process that goes beyond signing contracts. You will also need to know how you can nurture the partnership and look for opportunities for expanding this connection.
For this, there are a few tips you can apply to build lasting business partnerships. Whether you are onboarding a brand ambassador or getting a supplier for OEM parts, here’s what you can do to make the most out of a business partnership:
1. Know why you need a partner in the first place
Before you get started, you need to be clear on why you need to form a business partnership. Does your brand awareness campaign need a boost through another brand in your industry? Are you looking to expand your operations overseas? Several factors will tell you if a business partnership is worth your time and resources. You just need to set your goals in stone and focus your efforts on building partnerships that can help realize your business’s overall goals.
2. Look for potential partners within your industry
When it comes to building business partnerships, you wouldn’t want to be shooting from the hip. Your success will not be defined by the number of business partners you have. It’s the quality of your partnerships that matters the most, so make sure you look for potential partners that share the same vision. You wouldn’t want to waste time with a brand that won’t provide extra leverage to your business. If you are looking for a partner, you might as well prepare a set of criteria that will help you identify organizations or individuals that can help your business thrive.
3. Build lasting relationships with clients
Business partners are not limited to other entrepreneurs. Oftentimes, you can forge valuable connections with previous and existing clients, especially if they are business leaders or professionals. If they have had a great experience with your brand, they are more than likely to take the relationship to the next level. Apart from being brand advocates, your clients can also support ideas, initiatives, and campaigns worth exploring. You wouldn’t if they command a huge following, so consider starting a program that allows clients to work closely with you.
4. Make the most out of corporate events
Events like trade shows, conferences, summits, and seminars are not just educational avenues. They can also be a rich source of potential business partners. Consider attending networking events that are relevant to your industry and look for business leaders who could also benefit from partnering with you. Moreover, you should also look for events outside your industry but involve your expertise. If you are a Silicon Valley executive, for instance, you can attend an event where the tech and real estate industries converge. Chances are, you could find brokers and investors who have an idea for a groundbreaking mobile app for their real estate businesses.
5. Put the partnership on paper
Whether it’s a mutual agreement or an exchange program, your partnership with another business has to have legal safeguards in place. This will secure your interests and prevent the other party from doing anything detrimental to your business. Regardless of the nature of the partnership, you need to make it official by drafting a contract. You can use contract collaboration software so that the other side will review the terms before signing. Give them enough space to read the terms and offer suggestions. From there, you can enter into a legally binding agreement that protects your business and ensures that the partnership is working towards the intended outcome.
6. Know what to do during a dispute
Most business partnerships break down as a result of communication lapses. If the other side disagrees or disputes certain decisions on your part, provide them an avenue to discuss these matters and come up with a solution. The worst you can do at this point is to set them aside and pretend that they didn’t disagree with you. Not only will this lead to rifts in your partnership but it will also tarnish your business’s reputation. If there’s space for dialogue, use it and save your partnership.
Building and maintaining strong business partnerships won’t happen overnight, but these tips should help you succeed in growing your network of industry allies and advocates.