Essential Business Tips for Collaborating with Partners

The insular way of running a business is now outdated and often results in failure. These days, collaborating with partners is essential for success.

The benefits of collaboration are endless! From growing your network to saving money, teaming up with others can take your start-up to the next level. One business on its own can’t be good at everything, so why not collaborate to bring in a fresh pair of eyes?

Luckily, in recent years, opportunities to find partners and ways to collaborate have increased. Taking on external partners is now easier than ever!

Here are some essential business tips for collaborating with partners.


Examine Multiple Collaborative Opportunities

‘You don't have to work with the first interested party.  Explore who is out there and assess your options.’ Paul Martin, Managing Director, Parallel Blue

Collaborative business relationships come in many forms; from informal to strategic. Therefore, it’s important to do your research.

You need to be clear on what you’re looking for!

Work out which collaborations will have the most beneficial impact on your business. Consider what each partner will bring to your business in terms of value and performance. Then, prioritise the ones which will offer the greatest advantage to your start-up.

Don’t simply choose the first party that comes along!


Devise a Clear Partnership Strategy

‘Identify barriers to success in advance, to avoid problems once the relationship is established.’ Jenni Day, Head of Production, Woodcut Media

There are many reasons to collaborate. From cost saving methods to reaching new markets, collaboration involves a variety of advantages and compromises.  

So, it’s essential to be clear on your main objectives and priorities. Clearly outline the relationship you’re looking for.

Identify where your start-up is lacking. Which areas of your business could benefit from collaboration?

When devising your partnership strategy, both the pros and cons of the relationship are equally important to understand. Choosing the wrong strategy will hinder your chance of success.

Fully Evaluate Partners

‘A good collaboration will open you up to exiting opportunities and new ways of working.’ Tim Casson, Director, Casson and Friends

Evaluating partners is the hardest part of any collaboration. While most start-ups are aware of the need to collaborate, knowing who to team up with often proves difficult.

Choosing the wrong people to work with can have a detrimental impact! The partner you pick must be able to see your company’s values.

The questions you should be asking are:

  • What traits would your ideal partner possess?
  • What are their values?
  • Does their vision align with yours?

A good partnership will determine the difference between success and failure. So, be picky!

Choose a partner that will bring something new to the table, such as an exciting way of working or an innovative idea. You’re looking for a partner with an area of specific expertise that you can benefit from.

Monitor Partnership Success

‘Sustained collaboration must create commercial value for both partners and their customers.’  Sonny Masero, Chairman, Demand Logic

When embarking on your partnership, it’s important to define what you mean by success and monitor accordingly.

Establish benchmarks for success and observe your progress. You should constantly be measuring value, performance and return.

Making refinements where necessary will not only help you meet your goals, but exceed them.

To keep things on track, use one of the many business planning tools available.

Getting your partnership right will have a hugely positive impact on your business.

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