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Collaborative Partners Are Like Best Friends. You Can't Have 100!

By: Katie Myers Tuesday August 15, 2017 comments

A collaborative partner is another company or organization that works with you to further both of your goals. Whether that’s through an alliance, sales packages, or more, a collaborative partner is a powerful connection. And much like a secret weapon, it must be used sparingly to maintain the integrity of the system.

So what does that mean?

If you collaborate with everyone, from the outside it looks like you’re in it for the money or can’t make up your mind about what you want. From a collaborative point of view, if you’re stretched thin, you can’t provide the resources and time to make teaming up worth it. Remember, a collaboration is a mutually benefiting experience.

An ideal collaboration is one in which both of you can dedicate the time and resources to support one another by word of mouth or through joint sales and celebrations. It’s a connection that provides a solid foundation for future success in business.

How many should you have?

There is no simple answer here, but there are some guidelines that you should follow.

One collaborative partner per specialty.

There is nothing worse than sending mixed signals to your clients. Let’s say you have a social media company that specializes in developing brands for new businesses. It would make sense for you to collaborate with a web design company you trust (more on this trust aspect later) to develop start-up packages together. But what if you like company A’s web design portfolio, but company B’s social media integration with websites. Setting up packages with both companies would send mixed signals, and create headaches for your client. They want one connection, one service, not multiple logins and accounts to deal with.

One specialty. One collaborative partner.

Only collaborate with those you trust and whose services you would use without hesitation.

Chances are, you’ve faced this scenario in the past. You or a brand you trusted suggested a product or service that ended up being a shady deal. Once that happened, the trust factor disappeared. You see this in everyday life, as well. That friend whose movie recommendations you’ll never trust again or the store you’ll never go back to because of that shady saleclerk are two common examples.

Your collaborative partners represent your business. If they don’t deliver on their promise at the same quality you instill in yourself, your clients and customers will lose their faith in your judgment. It snowballs from there.

Keep an eye on the ball.

You can’t say yes to everyone. Repeat that, again. You can’t say yes to everyone, and you shouldn’t. When you approach (or are approached) about collaborations, consider these two simple questions before you even begin: “In what way will their services help my clients and customers?”, and “How will this collaboration benefit my business in the long run?”.

Your potential partner may suggest an amazing affiliate commission that would definitely benefit your company financially. That commission, however, may be for a service that has nothing to do with your company. If you try to push that connection, your clients will think you don’t know them at all, or that greed got the better of you so you’ve become untrustworthy. On the other hand, your potential partner may suggest a collaboration package that highlights both your strengths, but at a significant loss to you in time, money,  or resources. While that package may sound amazing, if you’re on the losing end, you’d be less likely to recommend it. A successful collaboration must be mutually beneficial for both your businesses and your customers and clients.

Those are our suggestions for collaborative partners. In what ways do you collaborate with your partners?

Katie Myers

About the Author: Katie Myers