April 24, 2018

9 Steps to Strong Partnerships

 |  By: Mike Opperman

Partnerships can lead to financial success when parties with different strengths come together for the benefit of the business. Likewise, business partnerships can fail as a result of poor planning or oil-and-water business relationships. Knowing when a partnership will work and when it should be avoided is important to the success of the business.

Nine members of the Forbes Business Development Council shared how to avoid mistakes when setting up strategic partnerships in an article on Here’s what they said:

  1. Have a formal agreement. Before entering into a strategic partnership, create a clear agreement that identifies who will do what, when they will do it and how they will do it. Determine when payment will be made and how either party can terminate the relationship. Elizabeth Pritchett, Center Point Business Solutions
  2. Ensure equal give and receive. Establish what is expected from both organizations. Make sure there is an equal give and receive, and that each company feels they are receiving equal value. Brandon Lytle, Leadpages & Drip
  3. Solve for the customer. When going into a partnership, make sure you are bringing something to the table that drives value and solves a customer problem. Walt Levengood,
  4. Set Expectations upfront. The single largest point of failure in a sales relationship is improper or lack of expectation setting after every interaction. Christopher Kingman, TransUnion
  5. Avoid bad deals. When setting up new strategic partnerships, avoid disadvantageous terms. For a relationship to be sustainable, it ultimately has to benefit both parties. Adam Mendler, Custom Tobacco
  6. Look past the excitement. Take the time early on to have a conversation with all parties involved to establish what responsibilities and commitments are expected. Bill Chemero, Wayback Burgers
  7. Get on the same page. Not setting expectations and timelines in advance of launching a relationship is a big mistake. For strategic partnerships to be successful all must be aligned on which responsibilities fall to each side and the timeline for both measuring those milestones and achieving them. Jen Tadin, Gallagher
  8. Really listen. Hearing and not listening—that’s one of the biggest mistakes in a partnership. Don’t assume anything, keep quiet and listen. You will learn a lot by asking probing open-ended questions. Wayne Elsey, Elsey Enterprises
  9. Vet your partner’s expertise. Only enter into deals with proven partners who have demonstrated both expertise that is relevant to the venture and verifiable personal integrity. Jeff Dudan, AdvantaClean
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