November 16, 2015

Strategic Partnerships: Finding One That Will Stick


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Relationships. We talk about them a lot. We’ve discussed the importance of networking, outsourcing, and finding the right hire. As a CFO consulting firm, we value working with others, fostering connections both internally and externally. And in business, forming relationships with those around you is essential. Think about how much you have developed personally and professionally by making new connections. Now think about the ways that meeting new people (and trusting them with certain responsibilities) has enabled your business to grow.

Besides your run-of-the-mill client relations and employer-to-employee relationships, there is a thing called a strategic partnership. A strategic partnership is when you team up with another business or businessperson to expand your company’s potential. There are several benefits that can come out of such partnerships including greater profit capacities, increased visibility and credibility, a stronger business network, new customers and products, and so much more.

But how do you know if a strategic business partnership is the right one?

Above all else, a strategic partnership needs to be mutually beneficial. In other words, both partners need to get something out of the collaboration. In life (and in business), the best relationships are the ones where we learn something from one another. Remember, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

But before you even start looking for a partner, you need to figure out where your company can improve. You’ll need to know the areas that you can and can’t fix internally before you search for help externally. This will drive your search in the right direction. So to get the ball rolling, see where your weaknesses are and what experience your company lacks. Then once you’ve determined where you’ll need additional help, it’s time to look for someone who can fill those gaps.

The next step is finding somebody that complements you. Try working with someone of a different professional background. They’ll give you insight into the way other industries operate and expand your business’s capabilities. Plus, their experience will open your mind to alternative managing processes, business tactics, and more.

Not only does a partner need to complement your skills, but they also need to mesh with your personality. Being in a partnership is not just about getting the work done. It’s also being able to communicate with the person on a daily basis. You both need to be on the same page, so having an open dialogue is a must. The right partner has a similar vision for the company’s future and is willing to work through problems when they arise. Talking to them should be easy. Don’t force a relationship if there isn’t one naturally.

To sum it up, finding a strategic business partner takes work. Just like networking, you need to develop relationships that offer value to those involved, including yourself. So take your time with the process and truly think about where you want your business to go. Take it from us: when you do put in the time and energy to find the right partner, your company’s growth potential will increase drastically. And all the effort will be worth it.

Are you prepared to handle the biggest challenges faced by business owners?

Don’t get blindsided by problems that other talented leaders have already solved.

We’ve teamed up with Dr. Hector Lozada, Professor of Economics at Seton Hall to survey business owners ranging from start-up founders to seasoned CEOs. What came out of it is a cheat sheet for sidestepping the roadblocks, bottlenecks, and challenges that plague your colleagues and competitors.

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