By Marc Beauchamp
In my last article, I discussed how important customer relationships are. Another dimension that is critically important is the ability to form partnerships. Whether you’re a large ISO or a small local payments provider, creating powerful partnerships is imperative to your company’s success. Some of our greatest business success stories come from partnerships that were formed out of a common goal.
Here are a few that come to mind: J.P. Morgan and Thomas Edison (electricity), the Wright Brothers (first flight), Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Apple), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), Coco Channel and Pierre Wertheimer (Channel), Richard and Maurice McDonald (McDonald’s). The list goes on and on.
These teams comprised individuals who were very good in their own right. Joining forces made them even better. The whole was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s why it’s imperative in any business to be able to form strong personal and strategic partnerships.
Good partnerships are formed by building great relationships; relationship networking is simply the art of meeting people and benefiting from those relationships. Often the benefit of these relationships is to obtain information, contacts or customers that lead to further growth of your business. All successful business partnerships are unique and evolve over time.
Establishing new relationships opens new doors. As others have stated before me: often, it's who you know, not necessarily what you know. You can employ a variety of vehicles for establishing relationships. But nothing really beats good old-fashioned face-to-face communication to start the process of building the foundation for a strong business partnership.
Key actions to building new business relationships include:
Many people wear multiple hats; everyone and anyone could possibly be a potential partner. However, just like targeted marketing, the more targeted the networking, the higher the chance of success. If you are not utilizing LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) the first step is to get online and begin to build your network of business connections and subscribing to groups that focus on topics of interest. LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool when searching for potential partnerships.
In addition, try some of these ideas to make new contacts:
Relationship networking and partnering may overlap, and in many instances, members of your network will become synergistic partners.
Partnering is an attractive, flexible way for companies to develop new markets and additional revenue. Working together, partners can combine strengths in critical areas. Often a larger, well-known partner provides small companies with credibility, while the smaller one contributes specific industry knowledge unknown to the larger partner.
Synergistic relationships come in all shapes and sizes, but the best relationships and partnerships are the ones that benefit everyone. One natural advantage is the ability to leverage each other’s client base. Often the partners complement each other in such a way that they can provide a combined solution that neither partner could deliver alone.
For a relationship to work, you must have a clear understanding of both company’s product strengths and weaknesses. By being aware of any deficiencies, you can focus on finding partners that complement your shortcomings.
It's also essential to know what you have to offer potential partners, as well as what you are looking for in a new partner. Don't waste time. It's either a fit, or not.
Only when each partner is successful can the partnership itself claim success. Awesome partnerships are truly win-win situations. Companies that master the art of strategic partnering will obtain long-term profitability and success. Build strong relationships, and you will have an unlimited source of partnership opportunities. The more win/win partnerships you build, the better your bottom line will look.
Marc Beauchamp is author of Survive and Thrive in the Merchant Services Industry and founder of Bankcard Life, a community for payments professionals. He is offering a free copy of his book to all payments professionals at www.bankcardlife.com/greensheet. Marc welcomes your comments and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.
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