Business partnerships can reap immense benefits for every party involved. A long time ago, in a period when giants of industry were far and between, and their products ruled the planet, partnerships were akin to small miracles. These days, they are just a good way of doing business. Independent companies are everywhere, from multinational conglomerates to small and successful start-ups. In order to avoid clashes of interest and make each other's lives easier, creating alliances is the most sensible thing to do. If this all sounds vague to you, don't worry, here are concrete lessons for strong business partnerships.
Look beneath the surface
Some partnerships might make sense on a surface level. However, there’s more to each company than meets the eye, so take some time to watch the way your potential partner does business. The especially important aspect is how they manage money. If the product of the company is successful and there’s a market for it, it doesn’t mean that inner workings of the company are sound. Especially pay attention to CEO’s relationship to employees and how prolific HR department is. This will give you tell-tale signs on what kind of partnership you can expect.
It’s about people
This means it's much more important to weight your partnership decision on the staff, not the product. The secret to a successful and long-lasting partnership is to work with the right people, technology is secondary. The second thing that's equally important is – outlook. The business culture of your partner has to match your own. This way, each side will be eager to commit to more integrated partnerships and common goals. Learning from each other benefits the business overall.
Clearly defined framework
As we’ve mentioned, working towards a common goal is crucial for partnerships. In order to agree upon this goal, you’ll have to draw up a framework for your partnership and put it on the table for your partners to assess it. This will show you how much they are ready to commit – compromises are fine, but if you disagree on fundamentals, maybe you should all go on your separate ways. In the end, both sides need to share risks as much as they share benefits. Additionally, this will show you the broad strokes of the road map your partner’s drawn up for themselves.
Dedicated meeting space
If the partnership is a done deal, have an office in their building or yours which will be a dedicated meeting space. This way, you’ll associate a particular frame of mind with a certain space, as you need to think differently when you are having meetings with your partners. If you can, make the room vivacious and add a lot of trinkets into it, from spinners and fidget cubes, to promotional squeezers from Stressball Planet. Add a fridge packed with sweet drinks and snacks, and you are bound to have less intense meetups. A well-set meeting space will do a lot to relieve tension and social awkwardness between partners.
Walking away is an option
Even though you’ve entered a partnership, walking away should always be an open option for every party involved. Business partnerships are based on a lot of promise and plans. However, there’s always a chance it won’t work out. If it doesn’t, the same holds for business relationships as much as it holds to intimate ones - you are not bound to stay in a “dysfunctional” dynamic. This might sound like admitting defeat and not being right, but ending a partnership and regrouping to create something more viable is the right thing to do.
Of course, signing contracts is just something that doesn't have to be addressed – it's obligatory. Once the terms have been set and signed, don't look at it again. Instead, look forward to your new partner. A mutually beneficial relationship can bring you unimaginable new successes if you pay attention to each other's needs and see eye to eye when it comes to goals.