Companies around the globe are constantly fighting tooth and nail to establish themselves as ahead of their competition. Between product development, marketing, and top-tier hires, there are numerous ways to rise to the top of the overwhelming number of other companies.
One effort that can sometimes fall by the wayside as companies push themselves forward is partnering with those around them in order to accelerate growth or create something entirely new. If great minds think alike, then unifying those minds should likely produce something wonderful.
Simon Mainwaring, the CEO of We First, Inc., summed up the impact cooperation can have, “Creating a better world requires teamwork, partnerships, and collaboration, as we need an entire army of companies to work together to build a better world within the next few decades. This means corporations must embrace the benefits of cooperating with one another.”
Seeing as partnerships can provide immense benefits, it may be something that a variety of companies should aspire to. What are some of the best tips regarding partnerships with brands and companies? We spoke with ten different business executives to uncover their opinions.
1. Do your research
Any good inquiry about a potential partnership is incredibly detailed. If one company goes to another without applicable information and concrete ideas it can seem unprofessional and possibly insulting. La Blanca is a company offering swimwear for every body. Their VP of Ecommerce, Karim Hachem, strongly suggests this approach.
“When companies have reached out to me in the past, it’s very apparent which ones mean business and which don’t. The former is well informed about what we do and have brilliant ideas for how they can come alongside that or vice versa to result in equal benefit.
They’re very transparent about who they are and how they believe their partnership idea will be intriguing to clients. The most impressive examples of this have generally had a full-fledged pitch that covers every fundamental of the proposed partnership.”
2. Seek like-minded companies
Diathrive is a health and wellness brand focused on providing economically friendly diabetes management products. Their founder and CEO, Michael Hennessy, believes a company should look to be involved with companies in similar fields in order to attract customers who already have an established interest.
“In my mind, it doesn’t make much sense for a female clothing brand to partner with a company retailing custom made garage doors. It makes far more sense for the fashion brand to pair up with a makeup brand while the custom garage door company establishes a relationship with a construction company. Ideally, each of these relationships should expand the customer base for each company and bring in more revenue.”
3. Be clear
Michael Mosse is the co-founder and head of revenue for Hoist, a company which propels and aids their clients to start their own businesses. He advises any company in the process of establishing a partnership to demonstrate transparency regarding what they want to achieve and improve upon.
“A partnership for the sake of one is wasted energy and effort. Like any act in business there should be clear guidelines and goals presented and upheld by both sides.
When you’re on the side of presenting a potential relationship, take the time to think out what you want to accomplish and what your company’s needs are. An ideal partnership should fulfill the needs and goals of each side otherwise it is unlikely to be sustainable.”
4. Demonstrate honesty
There are two sides of the coin when it comes to being authentic in business. First, a company must uphold whatever deal they’ve agreed to. Second, they must also communicate their genuine thoughts on the dealings. Winona is a medical company geared towards assisting women with matters of aging. Their co-founder Nancy L Belcher, Ph.D. and MPA, considers this approach necessary.
“Beating around the bush with matters of business will only serve to elongate or quickly end any project. Those involved in a partnership should be sure to be up front about any reservations or new ideas they have.
Not only is this a demonstration of good faith it also accelerates the growth of the relationship. On top of this, companies should go to every length to ensure that they do everything by the book in every partnership so that these relationships can be lasting.”
5. Sign a contract
Daniel Patrick is a Los Angeles lifestyle clothing brand featuring handmade pieces. Their founder, Daniel Patrick, believes that putting a partnership in writing is foundational to both laying out a plan and keeping each party in check.
“Working with another company can be friendly, fun and productive. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t go south or shouldn’t have some level of insurance behind it. No partnership is bulletproof or without issue. If you can iron out any potential disagreements beforehand it’s more than advisable.
At the same time, a contract can and should protect a company from financial and relational risk if the other party fails to meet the written standards. You never want to pull the contract info on those that you signed it with but there may come a moment where you’re grateful it’s there.”
6. Establish a personal relationship
Jared Hines is the head of operations for Acre Gold, a unique solution to saving money by subscribing to gold purchases. He suggests finding a personal contact at the partnered company is essential to keeping the communication healthy and fluid.
“Corporate business can often lack a personal touch. There are solid reasons for this but when you’re looking to get things done, dry emails, highly-structured text messages, or phone calls answered by a secretary are not constructive.
When you’re going down the road of building a relationship, finding a contact who offers insight while providing reliability can prove incredibly fruitful for finalizing a business partnership. People appreciate those who are genuine and are much more likely to spend time around them.”
7. Work with charities
On the surface, partnering with a charity may seem more like a giveaway than a symbiotic relationship when in reality mutual benefit is more than present in these partnerships. Katie Lyon is the co-founder of Allegiance Flag Supply which offers high-quality flags sewn by American seamstresses. She considers a business-charity relationship to be impactful.
“Working with other companies isn’t solely about the revenue as there are many more benefits. Name recognition, networking, and testing opportunities all fall into this category. When a charity event is sponsored by a company, the public opinion of said company is positively swayed. Events like this are a great way to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t.
Finally, if you’re looking to see how the public regards a potential product, displaying it at these kinds of events is great for opinion gathering.”
8. Expect some failure
Son of a Barista is an artisan coffee brand from Italy. They specialize in coffee machines and pods. Their CEO, Luca Capula, believes some partnerships may not be as successful as others and that should be considered when planning for the future.
“Trial and error should be a common phrase when embarking on a new journey with another company. Some great concepts are not well received by the public.
There are times where an idea cannot come to fruition due to production costs or availability limitations. It’s totally ok to hit a brick wall, reevaluate and find a work around. But roadblocks shouldn’t come as a surprise. Growth is never unimpeded.”
9. Have an open mind
Kevin Miller has started his own consulting agency aimed at assisting technology direct-to-consumer business grow through marketing. He suggests attempting to remove personal and business bias from the equation.
“It can be very easy to get overly passionate about what you believe in. In some cases it can be great to stick to your guns but in a world made up of experienced innovators, keeping an open mind to outside ideas can create wonderful opportunities.
As an extension of this, don’t brush off opportunities with other companies that you haven’t fully flushed out on an idea level. Again, there could be something there that you haven’t thought of.”
10. These things take time
The digital world has conditioned people to expect near-instant results no matter the circumstances. The reality of business is that there is likely a time consuming process which must be fulfilled. Finn is a high-quality dog food company which also gives regularly to pet related charities. Their co-founder, James Shalhoub, considers endurance necessary.
“Being patient is not always an enjoyable experience. Waiting for a result or answer can bring a certain level of stress to any situation. All of this is certainly the case in business.
When testing or decisions come into play, immediate responses won’t be an option. You never know what is going on internally at another company and pushing an issue will yield relational stress.”
Corporate collaboration and partnerships have so many variables that must be considered when entering this realm. When done right, they can offer numerous positives to everyone involved. Working with others outside a company is no small task and shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, with unity in a joint effort, more can be achieved than individually.
Author and speaker Brian Tracy conveyed this, “Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.”