StartupGuy shares some handy tips on exploring the power and potential of partnerships for your startup…
As a smaller or newer startup, the appeal of going it alone is obvious. All the power, all the rewards, every opportunity to write your own success story. But if there’s one thing history has taught me about success in any area of business, it’s this:
You’re stronger as a team than as an individual.
Think about it – how many of the world’s most successful businesses operate with a skeleton staff of next to none? Likewise, how many operate 100% independently, without any binding partnerships or collaborations with other businesses/service providers?
Of course, the answer is none.
So while it can seem as if proactively seeking collaboration is a sign of weakness, dependency or desperation, it’s actually quite the opposite. The right partnerships at the right time can transform a small and perhaps struggling startup into a competitive powerhouse.
The key question being – how to build the kinds of partnerships that breed positive progress?
Examine multiple collaborative opportunities
Well, the first thing to do is consider your options. That being, think carefully about the different types of collaborative opportunities available, in order to determine which make the most sense for your business. The worst thing any smaller business can do is jump into a collaboration just for the sake of it, without considering its value and relevance. Think about what each collaborative opportunity could offer your business long-term, scrutinising every option until you’re 100% satisfied.
Devise a clear partnership strategy
Of course, in order to make any kind of business relationship work, you first need to determine your partnership strategy. It’s one thing to be interested in collaboration, but what exactly do you expect to get out of it? How will it work? What will you offer and expect in return? What are your long-term plans for the partnership? It’s not enough to simply want partners – you need to consider how they’ll be integrated into your business plan. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to gain the interest of prospective collaborators and are unlikely to get anything meaningful out of the deal.
Fully evaluate partners
After identifying the kinds of partners your business could approach and work with, the time comes to carefully and comprehensively evaluate them. Sure, they’re in the same line of work as you, but are you genuinely on the same page? Do they share your passion, pride and priorities? Do they have the character traits you’re looking for in a partner? Can you honestly say you have complete and total trust in their abilities and attitude? Always remember that it’s the very future of your business that’s on the line. Which means you’ve every right to be as selective, demanding and picky as necessary.
Monitor partnership success
Last up, when creating your partnership strategy in the first place, you will (or should) have defined benchmarks and measures for the success or otherwise of the venture. When the partnership gets underway, it’s of critical importance to continually monitor its performance and efficiency against these benchmarks. Focus on the strengths, weaknesses and areas for possible improvement you identify, working to continually enhance and optimise the partnership for mutual benefit.”