Finding and Building Powerful Partnerships
Your startup has a brand, and when your customers make a purchase, they’re not only buying your product—they’re buying your brand. They most likely feel an emotional connection to your mission and values, and they want to feel connected to a business that is working for the common good.
Similarly, when you build partnerships with business partners, your relationship works the same with your customers. You want to sell your partners on your mission and values—leaving them to feel connected to your brand. Likewise, you want to feel connected to them and confident that the partnership will be long-lasting, transparent, and fruitful.
When beginning a relationship with a potential new business partner, give them a balcony-view of your startup’s operations. Let them get a birds-eye-view of your business model, revenue streams, and budget. Don’t let the conversation be a one-way street with your partners being the only ones asking questions. Be sure to ask your own questions so you can be confident in them and how they operate. After all, they will help build and bolster your brand—the most treasured aspect of your startup.
You will want to establish a collaborative and trusting partnership. Don’t settle for partners who simply want to keep things transactional. You want partners who can bring unique, innovative ideas and expertise to your startup. Ask them how they will identify problems and help find solutions—be sure that they will activate their partnership with you and not lay dormant.
And perhaps the most crucial piece of advice—do your homework. Don’t sign a contract with the first partner you meet. Get to know them, vet their work, and talk with others who do business with them. You want to make sure that you can trust your partners, and often, finding trustworthiness in a business partner can take a bit of time. Think of each conversation you have with a potential business partner as an interview—an opportunity to get to know them better and vice versa.
Finding good business partners isn’t always easy, and building powerful partnerships with them doesn’t happen overnight. Take your time and weigh all the pros and cons of doing business with your partners. Tell us what tactics have been helpful for your startup as you find new business partners, tweet @StarterNoise.
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Derek Rundell, is a successful business leader, operator, and serial entrepreneur. Derek has founded, managed and sold businesses in the technology, media and finance industries. He sits on several boards and serves as an advisor/investor to numerous established businesses and startups. Startups are Derek’s real passion, and in addition to building his own portfolio of technology, media and financial ventures, he invests in and mentors startups and entrepreneurs. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge and helping other businesses succeed.