One of the best ways to grow your business — outside of simply selling a great product or service — is one that can help your business flourish in smart ways. Put your efforts into building strategic partnerships. This type of partnership focuses on collaborative efforts that make sense for two businesses. As an example, Nike and Apple have long worked together to build their fitness brands. Their partnership began with a joint Nike+ and iPod program and today has expanded to a new video series the two are set to launch on Apple TV+. Likewise, Uber and Spotify worked together to play music through the Uber app to make morning commutes more enjoyable.
While major brands like Nike or Apple might feel out of reach, there’s no reason you can’t use their ideas as inspiration to help grow your business. At The Jim Allen Group, we are proud that we built strong, strategic partnerships with lenders, builders, and more, as we first began to grow. Now, those partnerships are a solid part of our business, and we’ve never looked back. If you’re not sure where to get started, consider the following advice to begin thinking about your business’s potential.
Think big picture
You may already be asking what types of partnerships make the most sense for your business. Start thinking about your long-term goals and what you’re trying to achieve. Then, start identifying businesses that fit those goals. Chances are, if you’re thinking about a specific business already, you know what they bring to the table. You’ll also want to start weighing what you bring to them. If necessary, ask your mentors, business partners, and even colleagues for their insights. It may bring you new ideas as you approach a potential partner, too.
To help think bigger about potential partners, you may want to break it down into types of partners that might make sense, too. Look for partners that you can recommend outside of your scope of service, or who might have a way to enhance what you already bring to the table. There’s no limit to your ideas. Then, think about what you need for the future and who can help you get there. Plan accordingly.
Look for a shared vision
If you’ve identified potential partners and aren’t sure who might be right for your business, make sure you discuss the company’s vision to see if yours aligns with theirs. A strategic partner is part of your team. Therefore, if you don’t see eye-to-eye from the moment you form a partnership, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
A shared vision should be part of your company’s growth. Vision creates a sense of purpose for a business, and that goes for a partnership, too. Once you’ve identified that the vision and mission of a brand aligns with yours, you may even want to work on creating a shared vision for your partnership. It will give your relationship a north star to keep your goals on track and help you as you grow together.
Transparency is important for any business. And it’s just as critical when it comes to building your strategic relationships. Once you’re working with your partners, you’ll need to build in clear expectations, be proactive, and focus on developing trust. That way, your businesses can both grow.
As part of your goal toward transparency, make sure you have systems in place to share candid feedback. You should have regular check-ins with your partners to make sure your goals, as well as theirs, are being met. The clearer the expectations and the more trust you have in each other, the better outcomes you’ll have in the end.
Plan for scale
Don’t be unprepared if things go well. You and your partners need to plan for growth before your businesses are helping each other flourish. Be prepared by ensuring you both have the infrastructure and systems in place to grow. Nothing is worse than being prepared for business growth that your partner can’t keep up with.
Work with your partners to make sure they know what to expect. You both must work toward smart strategies that you can implement while your business grows. Evaluate, plan, and put work toward the efforts it takes to hit your goals. Then, rinse and repeat. Be overly communicative during this time to make sure you are both delivering, too. It takes work, but it’s worth it.
Ready to start building?
If you’re ready to form strategic partnerships, start thinking big. No matter the size of your business, the right partnerships are out there. All it takes is the effort to make it happen.
Jim Allen is a business leader and entrepreneur who has built one of the top-producing real estate groups in the Triangle. He is President of The Jim Allen Group, which is consistently named one of the top real estate teams in North Carolina and even North America.