Strategic Partnerships: "Every Man for Himself" Is a Lie
In a ruthless and competitive professional culture we are consciously and subconsciously taught to not just be independent but that power and leadership means working solo, keeping your ideas to yourself, and accepting your loneliness at the top. We are taught that in order to get and stay on top dog eats dog and it’s every man is for himself. This belief is so flawed, dated, and harmful to your vision and career goals. I have never met a single professional leader who has not tremendously financially and mentally benefited from strategic business partnerships. There is power when you collaborate and learn from like minded professionals who share your values, ethics, and believe in your vision.
There is enough success to go around.
There is enough success to go around. I repeat. There is more than enough success to go around. Everyone is not in competition with you. Someone with a similar product to yours is not seeking to discredit you and take your business. As leaders we should all walk in wisdom and discernment but we don’t have to be so guarded that we miss opportunities to work with amazing professionals who have skill sets or the time that we don’t have.
You may have mentors, you may have trusted colleagues and they are valuable and belong in your network. Don’t stop there. Also consider thinking out of the box and expanding you professional network by entering into strategic partnerships with:
There is value in reaching out to those who share a similar target market as your organization. Surprisingly, many referrals can come from competitors. Leaders serve. We are networkers and connectors by nature. “I don’t offer that extension of my service but I can connect you to someone who does”, is a phrase that never ceases in the business world. You may provide several parts of a service that a competitor does not have the capabilities to provide. Servicing what they can and referring a client to someone else is not an uncommon practice. So reach out to your industry colleagues. Compare service plans and find those willing to send you those they can’t serve and you offer the same in return.
Independent contractors who have similar skills as you are your secret weapon. When you need a second set of hands that can’t be trusted to an intern or an assistant and you don’t have a large in house team to get the job done consider working with an independent contractor. An independent contractor is often more affordable than the expense of a full-time salaried employee and a good one will get to know you and your needs and work as you servicing your clients without skipping a beat.
Social media influencers are highly courted within many industries. Their following is loyal, large and getting in front of them and their followers in many cases brings the same engagement and ROI as pricey digital advertising. An influencer who has the same demographic following that you aim to serve is a super beneficial partnership to strive for.
How do you build strategic partnerships? No relationship especially business relationships form overnight. I do these 3 things to connect to the people I want to build with! But patience is key, there is no need to rush!
Before I make an introduction to a quality professional who I want to invite into my circle I look for the fruits of their labor, I look for like minded goals, and if I think there can be synergy I familiarize myself with their skills and passions. I become a fan. I read or follow their work, connect on social media, network in person if possible, and introduce myself and my organization so that I can get on their radar.
Before making a direct ask I offer genuine support. Strategic partnerships must be mutually beneficial. These partnerships must be authentic and that requires support. When I admire the work of someone professionally I buy or refer their product or service. It establishes my interest and belief in their work.. Besides monetary support I offer emotional and mental support such as listening to and evaluating their goals, plans, and brainstorming ideas on overcoming their challenges.
Make a Direct Pitch
We are all busy and none of us are seeking fruitless partnerships or time wasted. I don’t like to be vague. I pitch those I want to work with by telling them two things: why I want to work with them and what I will offer them. Never approach a professional you admire and be selfish. They are busy, they have goals just like you. Never pitch what you need from them and what they can do for you. If they have a strong skill and a strong network your genuine offer to them will be matched with a mutual benefit and if not you can simply walk away.
Trust your intuition and build the partnerships you need. Lift up others. It is lonely at the top so bring others with you. Be a part of a partnership that makes your organization proud and supports your long-term objectives and legacy.
If this inspires you and you want more thoughtful commentary and discussions on leadership, success, professionalism, and more subscribe to my YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/DialogueWithDallas