“We did not start as friends, but as people who respected and admired each other. Crucial, absolutely crucial for a partnership.” – Raymond Joseph Teller
The Power of Partnerships
By Andrea Novakowski
As business owners and leaders, it’s common for us to feel alone at times. All the weight of decision-making and planning rests on our shoulders. Every so often, we may wish we had a partner to take on some of that responsibility.
A good partner can prompt you to grow, help you accomplish more, and expand your capabilities. But when I talk about partnerships, I don’t just mean the legal kind. Partnerships can also be informal arrangements that cover just one project or one area of your business.
For instance, you might want to bring in a partner to help you pitch a presentation or provide training to an organization. Not only will the addition of a colleague offer more value to your audience, but it could also expand your reach into the market, increase your draw at the event, and boost the colleague’s reputation as well. With the right partner, it can even be fun!
Still not sure? Here are 7 powerful reasons to connect with a partner:
1. You don’t have to be all things to all people. You can bring your strengths to the business, and your partner can bring theirs. One of you might be great at sales, the other a whiz at creative product design.
2. You can provide a broader base of expertise to your clients. Referrals are another form of partnership. If a client contacts you about a product or service you don’t provide, you don’t have to say no — just share the name of a partner in your network of referral sources. Your client will appreciate all you have to offer.
3. It’s fun to co-create. So many of the “solopreneurs” I work with say they wish they had the opportunity to brainstorm, hear advice, and think through a situation with another person. Why not reach out to a colleague for a 15-minute idea generation session? Sure beats doing it all on your own.
4. You can fill in for each other. When one of you has something big going on in your personal life — perhaps a new baby or a sick family member needs a lot of your attention — the other person can pick up the slack. A partnership can help level out the amount of your energy that your work demands.
5. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Perhaps you’d like to increase your social media presence, but you’re a newbie at that sort of thing. Why not work with a partner who’s well-versed in internet marketing? In Ashland, where I live, some of the members of the Ashland Business Association did just that. They formed an agreement whereby local high school students partnered with business owners to help boost their social media skills. In return, the owners shared their expertise on business ownership with the students.
6. No need to play your cards so close to the vest. In a partnership, you can share more of yourself with others. You get to create win-win situations instead of engaging in cutthroat competition. When new people come into the coaching community, they’re always astonished at how much information we share with each other and how many mentoring programs are available. We’re always interested in helping each other become the best coaches we can be.
7. It allows you to be vulnerable. Yes, it can feel risky to ask for help. But it provides an opportunity for growth. After all, lending each other a hand is part of what makes the world go ’round. You may even discover people like being asked for help — it makes them feel useful, respected, and valued.
If you’re a business owner or leader and accustomed to going it alone, I invite you to think about partnership in a different way — not just in the conventional sense. How can you expand your participation in the world of partnerships?
YOUR CALL TO ACTION
Are there areas where your business isn’t flourishing? Think about how bringing in a partner could make a difference. Identify who that partner might be, and give them a call.