Beyond the obvious of satisfying geographical needs and determining like-market presence, experience, and product knowledge, it’s important to have evidence that a healthy business relationship will form, last, and be productive and profitable for both companies when considering a new partnership. In any business transaction both parties should do some due diligence before committing to a formal relationship, which means taking reasonable care that there are no red flags as to finances or reputation. But what about some of the less obvious factors that will either make or break a business relationship in the long run? I’ve addressed those factors below in the form of 5 questions you should consider when looking for a new partnership.
1. “Are We on the Same Page?”
Engage in dialogue and visit your potential partner. Are your business philosophies similar? Differing points of view can be useful in understanding situations, identifying issues, and developing solutions. Extreme differences however, will breed frequent conflicts and create impasses and gridlocks. Management styles can vary, but mutual respect must be present.
2. “Do Our Expectations Match?”
Is the partnership driven by a long-haul strategy or a short-term need? Taking on a business relationship can be an added burden and even a distraction. Potential partners need to do some soul-searching before signing. Have both parties been forthcoming about their motives? Meeting each other’s expectations is the secret sauce that fosters loyalty and builds strong personal and business alliances.
3. “What Do We Want to Accomplish?”
Partners need to share their respective goals and objectives as a partnership won’t survive if priorities and desired outcomes differ. Business plans aside, it’s the staff’s day to day effort that brings success. Yes, focus on your goals but contribute to your business partner’s success as well.
4. “Whose Team Are You On?”
It looks good on paper, but can the new relationship work effectively? Adopt strategies and tactics that recognize and balance out each company’s strengths and weaknesses. Here’s where that mutual respect will keep you from working at cross purposes. Synergy is the watchword.
5. “What Did You Think I Meant?”
Effective communication is extremely important; it can’t be stressed enough. Emails and text messages are so common today in business, but they’re also one-dimensional and easily misunderstood. Poor communication can both harm a partnership and result in substantial financial loss. Always verify that both your message and your meaning are received loud and clear!