Top Traits of a Business Partnership: How to Build and Maintain It
This last 12 months has shown what businesses can achieve through the power of collaboration, some naming 2020 the year for brand partnership dominance. Businesses have had to co-operate in unique and creative ways to navigate a COVID-19 stricken world.
With 2021 highlighting further economic uncertainty and mixed Brexit tariffs for various countries, from the UK discontinuing EU trade rules on 1st January, businesses need to focus on forging strategic partnerships to further traverse the coming year and grow.
Key traits of a successful business partnership
Partnerships allow for the exchanging of information, networks and expertise. This can result in new commercial opportunities, lower costs, improved corporate reputation and increased resilience, whilst potentially increasing your customer base and opening yourself up to new revenue streams. There are multitudes of opportunities that are spreading across the industry, with 44% of UK companies seeking alliances.
However, it can be difficult to pinpoint the organisations that would be best suited to your business. Each business has its own goals, values and ambitions. It is choosing the right ones that also align with your own company that can be difficult.
The most important trait however, is trust. Without it, the business partnership is as good as failed. This is something that can not be identified straight away, as trust is earned over multiple shared experiences. Partners must be patient with each other and soon enough over time trust will be developed.
Which leads nicely onto communication, there must be a clear and concise communication throughout all levels of the business, as one person can not be expected to translate tasks to the rest of their colleagues. Quite often, what may seem obvious to one person, may be overlooked by another, as half of what we say is said through context rather than actual words.
Businesses must not only put themselves into their partners shoes to understand how they would interpret conversations, but also learn to ask and admit when they need clarification on a subject.
Maintaining a successful business partnership
It is important to look for new partnership opportunities, but avoid temptation to overshadow any current partnerships. Maintaining existing business relationships is just as important if not more. Left alone to their own devices, they can fall by the wayside, with statistics revealing that up to 70% of business partnerships fail because of this very reason. Over 45% of executives agree that keeping strategic partnerships active and mutually rewarding is the biggest challenge.
One key way to do this is to work with the partner and create clearly defined roles and responsibilities. By doing this, everyone will know what they’re doing, it will take away the possibility of repeated tasks or jobs falling through the cracks, generating distrust between partners. Furthermore this should be put in writing, as it will provide a reference point for both partners to look back on.
Similarly to the key traits of finding a partnership, honesty is an important part of maintaining one. Holding back true feelings from a partner can do more damage than good. In order for partnerships to work, both sides must feel comfortable sharing opinions and hashing out disagreements with each other. Hiding emotions will only build resentment and bitterness that could destroy the relationship, and even the business itself.
This is especially the case for business partners that find themselves split across the UK and Europe. Following the regulation changes from Brexit, businesses need to be upfront on how various tariff changes or regulations have impacted their business, there’s no point in putting on a confident front if a business is going through hardship. There may even be a way that your partner can help!
2020 has been an eye opener for many businesses in how to generate business partnerships. As a European-based business leader navigating the various Brexit disruptions, I have explored the key traits that are significant in generating a successful partnership, alongside the important aspects of maintaining current relationships through these uncertain times. Here’s to 2021 being another successful year for strategic business developments.