The Value of Partnerships
I’ve been working with a client on strategic plan development for several months. A key plan tenet is a talent pipeline. While I’ve developed teams over the years from scratch (or from an existing team), handling the tactical aspects of creating a talent pipeline is not within my core services.
So, I brought in a valued business partner with this specialty. We talked with my client about the process, details, requirements, desires, and how to move forward—all integrated into a larger strategic plan. The client was thrilled, I provided value by solving a problem, and my business partner was thrilled to gain an additional client alongside me.
This is a win-win-win. No one loses. Anything. But this didn’t happen in some ad hoc way or without advanced work from my business partner and me. We’ve spent the last year working together on various small projects—some paid, some volunteer—so that we both can figure out how we work together and if we see eye-to-eye.
Recently, we made that relationship move up a level. It was fantastic. Much behind-the-scenes work went into creating that solution for a client. There were the hours on Zoom, in conference rooms ideating, working together, and even arguing.
I say all this to implore you to WORK on your business partner relationships, whether formal or informal. Maybe they are just referral partners that you can trust to serve your clients or customers in ways you cannot. Maybe they are more formal where true existing ties exist between two entities contractually.
Either way, WORK on them, dedicate time to them. Work through challenges together. It’s a little like dating. You have to try for a while, be together, learn, listen and slowly begin to interact and trust in different ways and environments. And some just won’t work out. That’s OK. It happens. But don’t let the past dictate your future. I have a few circles of great referral partners and they are invaluable to me, my business, my clients, and our business community.
Two or Three can be stronger than One. Now, work diligently on those partnerships as part of your long-term business strategy. Spend time with each of them, often. Call them and ask their opinions. And when they call you, stop what you’re doing and engage with them. Do this over time, and you’ll love the results.