Don’t Go It Alone: How to Use Partnerships as a Growth Strategy
In an ideal world, you would picture yourself standing on the top of the mountain made of gold, holding a proud accolade of the “Business leader of the year”.
However, we are not living in a fairy tale but in a highly competitive society where maintaining visibility is quite a demanding task.
Without the intention to burst the bubble, we come up with quite a smart idea and announce it as follows – don’t go it alone and we will give you plenty of suggestions how to use partnerships as a growth strategy.
There are numerous aspects and occasions that need to be taken into consideration, and we have tried to encompass as many of them as possible.
Stay with us and learn what it takes to make a business partnership work well and what to do when some obstacles block the way to success.
CHAPTER ONE: THE BIRTH OF AN IDEA
To begin with, the essential part of every project is making a good plan.
Not just any plan, but the one that will include several possible scenarios and “in case of” solutions. The more ideas you list, the bigger are the chances to react on time and save the day.
Have in mind that this cannot be done in a day only, but requires a certain period to accumulate the thoughts, sort them out and transform them into a complex and well-brainstormed project.
Here are some of the aspects to include:
- Determine the budget framework available for the business idea
- Find the niche that suits you the best, but at the same time stands good chances of gaining visibility on the market
- Target the group of consumers that your product or services are tailored for
- Make some plans about how to advertise and promote
- (and there it is) Find the partners
Despite listing this as the last one, we certainly don’t want to mark it as less important.
Quite the opposite, this one is the most demanding of them all.
There are more segments one can take into consideration, these are some of the highlights.
INNOVATION AS THE WAY TO GO
There’s one more important piece of advice as well.
Having in mind that the market is growing at the speed of light, giving the impression that there is no more space for new business, still, things are not so pessimistic.
After all, you can witness yourself that there are many successful businesses.
They all begin as truly small projects, with some ordinary services and products but BOOM, something made them stand among the crowd.
The secret ingredient that made such people successful is the power to think outside the box.
This means you shouldn’t limit yourself by taking just some expected ideas and solutions into consideration, but something that seems to be not related to your project (at first sight). The same goes for people.
Perhaps someone has plenty of ideas that are the same as yours but is afraid to express them. It takes a bit of motivation to help that person deliver the thoughts, and you may end up with quite an excellent partner.
Now, if one person who thinks like that has good chances to succeed, can you imagine what happens when two people od such aspirations unite?
Well, give it a try, find the one and go for it.
We cannot tell for sure, but we have that good feeling that makes us think it will result in humongous success.
AN ASSOCIATE TO BE WITH YOU, IN GOOD OR BAD
Choosing the business partner can be compared with selecting a companion to spend the rest of your life with.
It’s a process that requires plenty of efforts and energy.
But, if done well, it results in more benefits than you can imagine.
As soon as you determine what’s the big idea with your business, get down to choosing a partner.
You can look for one among your friends (which can be kind of tricky, and we shall explain later on why) or look on some business platforms.
There are certainly people who have if not the same, at least similar visions like yourself, and joining forces will help both sides prosper.
So, in order to find the perfect match, you have to be honest and transparent. This traces us back to making a plan.
Only when YOU have an absolutely clear idea of what you want to achieve with the business, you will be able to communicate those thoughts to another person and give a clear picture of the expectations.
So, when discussing with a potential associate, go step, don’t just rush things. You need to be 100% sure that the other side acquired all the delivered information well and that he/she agrees with all that.
If in this initial phase you both realize that there are certain disagreements, try to solve them and make plans on what to do in case they occur again.
Of course, if there are too many of them, then selecting another candidate is the only logical option.
Here’s a brief checklist for you when debating with a potential partner:
- Introduce the idea as thorough as possible
- Clarify the goals
- Determine the duties and roles
- Make a complex financial project
- Work on solutions in case of issues
Again, we just list some basic outline for the conversation, the situation itself can be adjusted based on numerous other factors involved.
BENEFITS OF PARTNERING UP
Provided that you have found your business soul-mate, it won’t take much time to realize that the business is deemed to success.
If we compare to a machine that consists of a plethora of teensy parts but of equally high importance, only when all of them work well, the machine won’t stop.
The same goes for business. If the problems are discussed before they escalate and become unfixable, things will keep on rocketing towards a positive direction.
Speaking of advantages when entering agreements with other people (or corporations), the list is rather long.
We shall introduce you to some of the most common good sides of having a business partner:
1. The Burden is Not All on You Only
You have to admit that this one really means a lot. As the project develops, the number of tasks will only grow, so having someone to split duties with sounds like the best idea ever.
Besides this, you cannot be an expert for everything, such a thing is impossible.
So, selecting the segments of work that suit you the best (the same goes for your partner) will increase the effectiveness and productivity to some great heights.
2. Fewer Troubles with Finances
Instead of being the only one who invests into the project, sharing the budget with an associate will make things much easier.
The financial aspect of every business is among the most stressful segments, as people are in constant fear that they will end up broke.
This is certainly not unreasonable fears, but quite realistic ones, as determining things precisely here is almost impossible.
You may have a good projection, and predict some things, but you can never be 100% sure.
Having someone to share the finances with when getting started, makes the initial phase less stressful. Realizing that you are not alone, if the fail happens, can comfort you and help you move on faster.
Speaking of finances – here’s a cool tip for you! Have you ever heard of crowd funding? That’s how many ideas and plans become reality nowadays.
This is the simplest way to build social capital and expand a bit faster.
So, the only thing it takes is creating an attractive advertisement to attract people and motivate them to invest in you.
3. Exchanging Knowledge and Skills
Two people may have the same vision, but it is likely that they have different ways how to achieve something.
That’s because all of us have a different corpus of skills and knowledge, which determines the way we think and act.
There are many factors which have influence over this, such as lifestyle, education, hobbies, and so on.
So, besides working on the same business project, you will have an excellent opportunity to expand your views and acquire some new sets of solutions.
That is really precious, isn’t it?
Of course, the same goes for your partner, as he/she will have plenty of things to learn from you as well.
This way you help each other grow and develop not only as business individuals but as people also.
4. Minimizing the Risk
Let’s face it, none of us likes fails, and entering the great big world of business is a risky thing.
However, if you have someone to share this with, the level of risk significantly decreases.
When there are two partners involved, it’s possible to sublime the potential risks. Instead of ending up like an epic fail, it will be a situation that stands some chances to be fixed.
This is particularly important for some less standard project. When someone is trying to push forward service or product that is not so common, it’s impossible to predict the public reaction, acceptance and wide implementation precisely.
But, when someone shares the same thought, it’s easier to deal with the situation, regardless of the result.
5. Conquering More Territories
If you align with someone, you certainly increase the chances to gain a wider spectrum of consumers.
It is so logical that when two people enter a strategic partnership, they have better chances to reach to more potential followers.
We gave you these top five, but we are more than sure you can think of several more.
These are rather universal, some benefits come as a result of a specific niche.
But the main point is that good partnership with well-established structure can bring plenty of good things.
WHY DO SOME BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS SIMPLY WON’T WORK? (PLUS QUICK TIPS ON HOW TO OVERCOME IT)
Okay, now that you have all the aspects and factors necessary to establish a business partnership, you will agree that things sound rather hard.
However, synchronizing the rhythm with the potential business associate is even more difficult.
Some people work together for years and years but still, there are some glitches, some bugs that don’t allow things to run smoothly.
Sometimes, after a longer period of time, they still manage to adjust the clocks, so to say, but sometimes the gap of misunderstanding becomes even deeper.
You will agree that the situation is even more perplexed when those business associates are close friends.
There are times when you simply need to let things go because they become stuck within some limits where the differences are impossible to overcome.
Here’s the list of most common obstacles that business partnership encounters:
1. The fear of confronting with each other.
Though it may seem like the simplest task ever, people don’t feel comfortable when they need to confront each other.
Because they are afraid that such an action would hurt the feelings of the other side.
Call it a beginner’s mistake, but people make it very often and even though the partnership seemed to be of great potential in the initial phase, things have changed.
That happens when people put more focus on how the other side will FEEL about it rather than primarily stressing the well-being of the business.
So, the best way to avoid this is to be transparent in communication. If the project suffers, each side should be knowledgeable about that.
The sooner each partner overcomes this unpleasant but unavoidable duty, things will start running smoother than you can imagine.
2. The absence of communication.
No communication equals no business – could it be more obvious?
If there’s no communication, things will be stuck in the middle of nowhere and there will be no progress.
Communication is the most powerful tool, so use it wisely and frequently.
The point is that associates should not only have good communication on a regular basis but have talking sessions as often as possible.
Call it over-communication, but, yes, that’s exactly what we are aiming at.
The communication serves not only to solve the problems but to come up with some new ideas, new solutions. So, exchange those thoughts as frequent as you can.
These brainstorming sessions can be fun and exciting and can bring plenty of benefits to the business itself.
Moreover, you will learn a lot about yourself.
3. Unsynchronised roles.
When the project is just getting, what most people believe is that they should have the same roles and be in charge of every single aspect on an equal basis.
However, this is wrong, because the more the business grows, the more complicated the roles will become.
The expected scenario is that each of the sides will end up fulfilling those duties partially and the performance quality will decline significantly. It will be impossible to handle everything, and the business is deemed to fail.
To avoid such a sad story, split the roles and work on conquering your own territory.
Choose the aspect of the project and the corpus of obligation that suits you the best, and push as forward as you can. Such a smart and strategic division can only bring good.
When tasks are assigned to the right person, who has the necessary skills and knowledge to handle them, the business will prosper.
The main point is to avoid stepping on each other toes or simply put – don’t mess with things that are not your field of expertise.
Of course, it’s more than legit to give advice if the associate asks for it.
Sometimes an objective opinion is necessary because it gives a better insight into the situation.
4. The right perspective of time.
If you believe that it takes just several weeks to establish a partnership that works, then the thing to consider is giving it up.
Don’t just raise the eyebrows there, but expecting that the project will run with no issues in such a short time frame is unrealistic.
It takes several years to make things work, and sometimes even after such a long period of time, it turns out that there some segments are impossible to set.
Each phase requires a certain period of time to pass, and you know what they say – time heals, and that makes sense in business as well.
One of the most common things that are correlated with time is the financial aspect. When the project is just heating up, the budget is somewhat limited.
However, as time goes by, if the business is run wisely, it results in a financial gain which motivates the partners to give even better of themselves.
5. Not sharing the same life goals.
Though this one falls into private life category, still, it’s quite impossible to isolate or ignore it.
If one of the partners project him/herself on a beach with some refreshing cocktail, while the other is so dedicated that he/she works 24/7, the business won’t work.
No one says the goals should be identical but should be as similar as possible. It’s about sharing the same vision, aligning with the associate. It’s about making compromises.
Of course, those visions and ideas should be as close as possible, because it will be easier to synchronize them and avoid the negative impact on the business.
Since the main goal is having a successful business, the main focus should be on that.
What will be done with the rest of the time besides, it’s up to each of the sides.
6. Becoming frenemies.
We already mentioned this one as the factor that has great potential to complicate the situation.
The worst possible ending of the story would be ruined friendship and ruined business.
No one likes this “failed” label.
So, unless you are 100% (or even more than that!) positive that you CAN make things work fine, then opting to choose a close friend for a business associate is ok.
If it’s not the case, then don’t even try. As we said, you don’t want a frenemy, do you?
7. Less talk, more job.
Some people have the gift to communicate and motivate people, to come up with numerous ideas and solutions, but they lack one thing.
When it comes to turning those words into reality, it turns out impossible.
Execution is one of the essential aspects of a successful business. Strategizing is the easier part, but taking action is completely different and much more demanding than that.
If both sides lack that ignition to get down to business, the project will get stuck and never develop.
The sense of accomplishment is valuable, so the best way to make this aspect work is settings some smaller and easily achievable goals.
This way you can set yourself and your partner free and stop by step learn how to execute.
Those smaller completions of goals will be an excellent motivation that things can work well.
8. Getting too emotional.
Let’s be honest, none of us is a robot. We cannot just push the button and turn on or off the emotions.
They are an integral part of each human being, like eyes, ears, and managing them the right way is of vital importance.
So, to make things clear, in terms of business, you have to be LOGICAL not emotional.
Putting yourself in the outsider’s perspective gives you the chance to see the situation in its realistic edition.
It’s so natural that fails and mistakes will come, so regardless of being the one who criticizes or receives criticism, don’t be emotional.
Always bear in mind that the bottom line is what the best thing for the company is.
Sometimes there will be tears, argues, misunderstandings, but work on them.
After all, the above-mentioned obstacles are listed with the idea to become aware of their existence and learn how to tackle with them.
At the end of the day, we all know that having an ideal business partner and successful project is the ultimate goal.
Now that you learned all the obstacles and have some hints on how to deal with them, take steps to eliminate the negativities and implement the necessary parts so that the machinery could run smoothly.
After we carefully listed all the segments then are an integral part of a business partnership, the bottom line is that if well-planned, it brings plenty of joy and success.
Like we already said, it’s impossible to exclude yourself entirely in terms of emotions and have no reaction at all, but try to focus on the business primarily.
When discussing both failures and successes with your partner, don’t take things too emotionally. Easier said than done, we know.
Each of you is only a human being, it’s natural to make mistakes, but as long as you have transparent communication with your associate, you will overcome all the obstacle.
Once again, never underestimate the immense power of communication, as it’s the only way to make things work.
When it comes to business, there’s no such thing as too much discussion. Be it good or bad, making retrospectives helps you improve and grow.
Now that you know all there is about the immense power of wise alignment, take this as a sort of checklist when preparing to select your potential associate.
We really hope that these bits of info will help you find the one to fulfill your business dreams.
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