5 Tips for Creating Successful Partnerships

Success is not created in a vacuum.

If you want to be successful, more than likely you’re going to have to enlist the help of others. Simply asking others for help is not always the problem but creating a mutually beneficial “partnership” is.

If we’re honest, we typically tend to step into things thinking about what “I want” or what “I need” versus taking a step back to think about what the other party wants or needs as well.

A real partnership is not just about what you can do for me, it’s also what I can do for you. It serves all involved and helps each succeed.

When you master that concept and structure your partnerships with the value of both parties in mind, then you create something meaningful and lasting. Sounds simple and like it should be common sense but sadly it’s not. It requires being intentional.

Here are 5 Tips to Create Successful Partnerships:

1. Put Yourself in Their Shoes – Before you approach a potential partner, think about their wants and needs versus just your own. Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand what they might perceive as value. Eventually you need to clarify and ask them but initially just getting your mind shifted to their point of view is important for perspective.

2. Present the Value Proposition – Always approach a potential partner with a value proposition. What’s in it for them? Once they see the potential benefit then they’ll be far more likely to listen to your needs. Once they know you care about them then they’ll be much more likely to care about you.

3. Give More – Always give more than what you commit to. Wow them. It’s like bringing your wife flowers unexpectedly. It sets the foundation for a long, healthy relationship by showing them they are valuable to you.

4. Partner versus Sponsor – If you are in business or running an event that typically uses the word “Sponsor,” consider changing it to “Partner.” A sponsor is typically someone who is less engaged. They do for you based on what you ask and what you provide back to them but rarely do they take it to the next level. Rarely are they engaged in a way that has them looking for additional ways to make you or your initiative a success. A simple shift in wording can change a lot.

5. Communicate – Make sure you communicate clearly and effectively at all times. Put things in writing so that all parties are fully aware of expectations. Never let assumptions get in the way. Poor communication and assumptions can destroy a partnership in an instant.

Obviously the specifics of your partnership and arrangement will vary but the mindset to which you approach them is what matters most.

These tips aren’t theoretical either. I put them into practice each and every day. As a matter of fact, we just wrapped up a HUGE public event last Friday where 4500 people attended. Did we spend a lot of money on advertising? No. We leveraged partnerships. We had numerous local partners promoting our event for us… (16 local McDonald’s handing out promo cards to each of their customers, as just one example). Of course, they received a tremendous amount of value in return. We wowed them and they want to come back again next year and do even more.

An effective partnership requires an investment. It takes work but it’s worth it. We can do far more together than we can alone.

What about you? How are you with creating partnerships? Do you have any example or tips of how you’ve made partnerships work?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I love that you included "put yourself in their shoes". I have had quite a few people email me asking to be a business partner, but they just include how it would benefit them, and I'd be put on a tight schedule. I don't want to be doing 90% of the work and only getting 10% of the benefits. You have to make it look even, if not beneficial to the partner to get anything to work. Great post!

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