5 Steps To Partnership Success in Business

Partnership Success: The Factors That Win in Business | Connected Women

Partnerships are my ‘go to’ resource to accomplish anything. Want exposure for one of your clients? Media partnerships. Want to get more leads to an event? Affiliate partnerships. Overseas expansion?  International partnerships. Let’s look at the factors that build partnership success in business.

Over the years, I’ve failed way more than I’ve succeeded in trying to create ‘win-win’ relationships with strategic business partnerships. When that failure has occurred, I can always look back at an error I’ve made in one of the following 5 steps. Hopefully these can help you win more success with partnerships:

1. Take the pressure off (kiss lots of frogs)

Nothing sets a deal up for failure faster than when you really *really* need the deal to work. Funnily enough others rarely share your sense of urgency. If you feel yourself having any sense of desperation for a deal to work out, it is time to start phoning round other partners. Most deals will not deliver exactly what you hope for; therefore, take the pressure off any one deal by having multiple fall backs.

2. Think big, have a vision, bake a deal pie.

In almost every deal I have ever done, there was always something else we could have brought in as a negotiation tool or just as a way of working more effectively together. Don’t be afraid to have fun with your partners. Imagine multiple ways you could work together. What would happen if you added a 3rd partner or a 4th? What if you added more products or even created a separate business to maximise this opportunity?

3. Think small baby steps.

Big thinking is great, but always set up something small that you can start doing right now, today, to get something started. It doesn’t matter how small it is, a tweet announcing we’re planning to work together, a timeline of actions, a date for launch but get something nailed down. If you can’t move forward with anything on the first meeting then it is likely an indicator of how this partnership will turn out.

4. Treasure Map Matrix.

Picture a 2×2 matrix with ‘High Value & Easy to Implement’ in one corner and ‘Low Value & Hard to Execute’ in another. You want to have a basket of ‘easy to implement’ partnership options that you can pull out at any conversation that can move things forward. Do you have a free gift that you can make available? Some research you can share? A database you’re happy to promote to for them? Making it super easy for people to work with you is the key to building long-term relationships and moving up the ‘value ladder’ to the game changing deals.

5. Over deliver / over communicate

Make it a point of over delivering in every partnership. The only way you can do that is to really understand how you create value for them. Once you have that down you will consistently have your pick of people to partner with on whatever you need because you have set up an expectation.

Whether you’re over delivering or under delivering, do ensure you are communicating more than you think is necessary. The most common mistake people make is when stuff stops working like you hoped it would and so you go into hiding. Don’t be that person.

Strategic partnerships are, to my mind, the fastest way to achieve anything in business. Like anything they need practice, attention to detail and a healthy dose of humility to consider others needs’ first. However, with these 5 steps hopefully you can avoid many of the common mistakes.

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Callum Laing

Callum has built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is a partner in a private equity firm Unity-Group, the CEO of Key Person of Influence Asia, co-founder/director of The Marketing Group PLC. He is a regular speaker, and is author of, amongst other things, "Progressive Partnerships - The Future of Business" - For a free synopsis go to

This post was first published on Callum Laing’s linkedin account and has been reposted on Connected Women with the permission of the author.

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