None of us are exempt from partnerships; our mere existence relies on them. I could go “off the grid”, but I would still need to partner with my environment for survival. Food, water, shelter, air…although the odds of me going “off grid” are essentially nil. I’m far happier to partner with the likes of a warm blanket and my fireplace on a cold night.
Each partner we choose has the capacity to build us up, cause us to crumble, or simply help us maintain the status quo. Some are one-sided, others not so much. In an ideal situation, there is of course, a reciprocal value. From a professional perspective, a well structured partnership can be a springboard for both companies whether early stage or Fortune caliber.
Before looking for just the right matches, we are wise to first identify our resources. What do I have to offer? What needs can I fill for this particular potential partner? Can I fully deliver what I am promising? All good starting point questions to consider before jumping into that first meeting, which brings me to my next set of questions: Why am I reaching out to this company? How will I benefit, if I need to at all? Is this a “pay it forward” partnership, or do I expect a return? Establish a solid basis for the introduction and the rest starts to fall into place.
Once that foundation is revealed, let’s build on it. Hit and run relationships very seldom benefit anyone so it’s my personal and professional goal to create a marriage of minds and expectations. Delving into the source of each company’s needs can craft a plan for success that will stand the test of time. What efforts have worked in the past? What has been a waste of time and resources? By offering best values, and looking at things like company vision, culture and history of alignments; mutual gain becomes a natural deliverable with real power to be a momentum builder for all.
In any event, designing a plan to impact both companies will require much more than just a brand push. Getting noticed simply isn’t that difficult given the tools our electronic age provides. By integrating offerings that run the gauntlet and take into consideration those identified needs that brought about the introduction in the first place, merit is clear, and worth is laid out in a deliverable plan of attack. Each touchpoint a target with real objective.
Choosing the right allies takes deliberate research. Not every opportunity we identify will materialize into that lasting relationship; company cultures change, pivots are made and sometimes we can’t escape the fact that we aren’t a good fit in some spaces. But once we find that a true collaboration can be crafted to create a partnership that has the potential to launch us all forward, latch on, make it mutual, and reassess needs as time passes. The value of putting into place the right partner, at the right time, is essential for survival- our success relies upon it.
Written by Jamie FalaszTags: allies, brands, business, Chicago, community, company, culture, Mass Mutual, Midwest, partnerships, plan, Polsinelli, small business, startup, Structure, success, tandem HR, VC, VCVetted, Venture Connects, vision