Collaboration is essential to business, as external partners bring fresh eyes and new ideas. Companies that run in an insular fashion are less likely to succeed, largely because partnerships often result in more efficient and cost-effective ways of working.
Collaboration also prevents one business spreading itself too thin across multiple areas, therefore it is wise to introduce some new talent to your company.
Examine Multiple Collaborative Opportunities
‘You don’t have to work with the first interested party. Explore who is out there and assess your options.’ – Paul Martin, Managing Director, Parallel Blue
It is essential to determine which collaborations will have a positive impact on your business in terms of value and performance. To have the best chance of a successful partnership, prioritise which collaborations will have the most beneficial impact.
At this stage, it is important to fully consider all your options, because the decisions you make early on are crucial. Therefore, don’t fall into ill-judged partnerships, as these can have a detrimental effect on business.
Devise a Clear Partnership Strategy
‘Identify barriers to success in advance, to avoid problems once the relationship is established.’ – Jenni Day, Head of Production, Woodcut Media
Remember, collaboration should enable individuals to achieve a shared goal. Along the way, both parties should receive benefits. Since the best partnerships are mutually beneficial, it is important to outline the relationships you need. Be clear on your objectives.
The reasons to collaborate are numerous. These include cost-saving methods, new inspiration, as well as a growth in network and new connections.
What do you want from this partnership? It’s important to be clear on the answer to this question, as your partnership strategy is essential.
The wrong strategy will threaten your chance of success.
Based on why you are collaborating, you will need to devise your strategy accordingly. There is no universal strategic guidebook!
Fully Evaluate Partners
‘A good collaboration will open you up to exiting opportunities and new ways of working.’ – Tim Casson, Director, Casson and Friends
To give yourself the best chance of success, ask yourself what qualities your ideal partner would possess. This should lead to other questions, such as- does their vision align with yours? What can they bring to your business? Do they specialise in an area where your business is lacking?
This is the most difficult part of any collaboration. Partners play a significant role in success or failure.
Whilst this sounds daunting, if partners are evaluated fully this opens up many possibilities, giving the collaboration the best possible chance of success.
Be picky. Who can bring something new and innovative to your business? Which partnership will be the most beneficial?
Ensure that you will profit from this relationship. Consider how each partner will fit with your business, and who you could work best with.
Monitor Partnership Success
‘Sustained collaboration must create commercial value for both partners and their customers.’ – Sonny Masero, Chairman, Demand Logic
It is essential to constantly monitor the impact of a partnership. A collaboration shouldn’t have temporary results, but maintained success. Brief, fleeting success will not have a huge overall impact on your company.
Therefore, constantly measure value and performance. This will allow you to see which elements of your strategy are effective and which need revisiting.
Not all collaborations will work, however those that do will have a hugely positive impact for your business.
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