Most leaders have been bombarded with the idea that business partnerships are essential to their success. Partners can extend the reach of a company, create new audiences, strengthen its value, expand its capabilities and even strengthen its reputation by association.
Marketing Week pointed out that partnerships such as Amazon and Adidas have grown through their partnerships – Adidas has increased its brand value by 50%, mainly thanks to its increased number of partners, while Amazon has earned a value of $ 208 billion worth of the brand. of its partnerships. The merger of brands such as Whole Foods under the Amazon banner has profoundly changed the company's sphere of influence.
The problem is that although many leaders know they need partnerships to strengthen their activities, it is not clear how they can distinguish competent and dynamic partners from poor partners. What is good for one company can be disastrous for another.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to determine which partnerships will fuel sustainable growth.
1. Find partners who share your values. Partners who share values may have different methods to meet their needs, but they do not lose sight of what is important. Aiming for the same goal also means that your company's chances of reaching its end goal are greater – with another force behind its efforts, it is less likely to lose momentum or rotate without a thorough analysis.
FutureFuel, a fintech platform allowing employers to help employees reduce their student debt, has partnered with partners sharing its goal of removing financial hurdles. By partnering with companies such as Colonial Life, FutureFuel underscored its commitment to streamline student debt repayment and facilitate employer involvement. "Every employer we talk to understands that several generations of employees have student debt problems," says Laurel Taylor, CEO of FutureFuel. Its partnerships, associated with its platform, allow the brand to reach more of these employers faster.
2. Cultivate equal partnerships. Preferences and trends do not have to be equal in a partnership; a partner with a higher risk tolerance can balance a partner against the risk. But when other factors – such as money or influence – take over and allow a single partner to lead the ship, this can hurt the entire partnership. The relationship must be built on collaboration and discussion rather than unilateral decision-making.
Mike Whitaker, a serial entrepreneur and board member of acceleration, says he's learned how to take advantage of the lesson. In 2010, his manufacturing company suffered a $ 15 million loss to Whitaker. He would become vulnerable to the position of his partners and, when things went wrong, his choice of partners came back to bite him. "Partnership is strongest when the collective vision is clear, the motivations are the same, and the leverage is not one-sided," says Whitaker. "If you feel helpless in a partnership, it's not a partnership."
3. Identify enthusiastic and polite partners – but not as well polished. In addition to values, motivation is an essential element in creating a long-term partnership. Partners who not only share values, but also goals that go beyond them – such as becoming the reference provider, creating a $ 100 million company or creating a well-known name – will thrive. But virtual strangers who enter into partnerships may fall into the habit of being polite – so polite that they hide their true interest in a project or effort until their enthusiasm unleashes torpedo all of this business.
Neil Patel, Quick Sprout's marketing expert, has been working with the same partner for over a decade. He believes that their success can be attributed to one thing that retains so many others: confrontation. "We do not care about hurting each other. We say what concerns us. Why? Because we both want to succeed and do what is best for the company. So if one of us slows down the activity or does something wrong, we make sure to report it, "he says. "If you are too afraid to tell your partner how you feel, you will not be able to make your partnership work."
Strong partners can provide a lot of capital, expertise or visibility. While these factors may vary, common ideologies and equal status must exist for partnerships to truly help a business grow. In their absence, he will remain a partner who will hold the bag – and that is exactly what great partnerships were built to avoid.