How to avoid a crappy partnership

Graphic with jigsaw pieces coming together.

Finding a good fit in a partner

One of the fastest ways to grow your business is to partner up with other like-minded businesses. Collaborations, partnerships, and referral arrangements can be a smart strategy if you want to grow your business fast and borrow each others audience.

But finding a good partner can be tricky. Why? Most people rush into things without thinking everything through and when they start to work together, they realise the shiny, glossy social media image portrayed isn’t really how they operate at all. 

Or they haven’t thought through the value exchange and truly understand what they bring to the table.

Partnerships that work have these three things in common:
1. There is an equal exchange in value.
2. They have the same values and work ethics.
3. You both have a similar audience, that compliments – not compete.

How you can find a business bestie
The road to collaboration is paved with good intentions, but ensuring you’re on the right path requires a bit of legwork (and a good deal of common sense).
Think of it like dating. Have your must-have list of your perfect partner before saying yes or you will probably have a messy break-up.

"When the right partners come together, magic happens."

Two paper cut outs with a heart, indicating a successful business partnership.

Business Partnership Checklist

I’d be rethinking my options if a potential partner didn’t tick these boxes. 

1. Values—Do They Stack Up?
A partner whose values align with yours makes for a feel-good collaboration. It’s not just about what you do but how you do it. If your potential partner is all about cut-throat competition while you’re more about community over competition, you might need to swipe left on this one.

2. Likeability – do you enjoy talking/working with each other?
We all like to work with people we like. It makes for good energy, ideas, and communication to flow.
Trust your gut on this one.

3. Audience – do you have the same or similar audience?
No point collaborating with people who have an audience of people who never want or need what you offer. Make sure you have similar audience demographics and brand voices.

4. Complementary Services—Do You Complete Each Other?
The best collaborations make each partner stronger, offering something the other lacks. Separately great, but together? Magic.
If you’re stepping on each other’s toes, you might want to step back instead – as you want to grow audiences, not steal them.

5. Are you on the same page – can you both commit to this relationship?
One thing that’s in high demand as a business owner is your time. Ensure both you and your potential partner have the bandwidth to give this collaboration the attention it deserves. Otherwise, if one person does the lion’s share of work, you’ll resent it, and boom, your relationship explodes.

6. What’s in It for Them and YOU? Mutual benefits.
Before approaching or accepting partnership offers, get crystal clear on the value each of you gets. An equal exchange of value is the most critical thing in partnerships.

7. Spell it out – clear expectations and boundaries
Your partnerships don’t have to be formal, but they do need to be clear. Make sure you each know what you have to do, by when and know each others’ expectations.

8. Don’t keep your partnership a secret –  promote it
They won’t work unless you tell people about them – your partner may have the very thing your clients are looking for and vice versa.

Remember: the best collaborations are those where everyone wins, including your customers.

Now, off you go—find your business soulmate and make wonderful connections.

Need help?

Grab my Workbook & Canva Template

The best partnerships have a win/win mindset and are well planned out.
In this workbook, I run through the success measures, and a series of questions to help you get to your ideal partner.
And of course, if you want to look totally profesh, you need a partnership doc. 
My canva template is fully customised and captures each section your partner needs to know about before making a decision.

Marketing Ideas for Collaboration

Here are some low-cost, easy-to-implement marketing collaboration ideas that work for partnerships.
But don’t stop there. Think of Bluey and Domain. There are plenty of left-field ideas out there too!

Here are 10 easy-to-implement marketing ideas for collaborating with service businesses:

1. Co-Host Webinars or Workshops
 Partner with service businesses to host educational webinars or workshops on topics of mutual interest to reach a broader audience.

2. Cross-Promote on Social Media

Collaborate on social media campaigns where you promote each other’s services to expand your reach and engage with new audiences.

3. Create Co-Branded Content
 Develop co-branded blog posts, videos, or podcasts that provide valuable insights to your collective audience while showcasing both businesses.

4. Offer Bundle Deals
Create joint offerings or bundle deals with service businesses to incentivise customers to engage with both businesses simultaneously.

5. Share Customer Testimonials
 Share customer testimonials or success stories about how your partnership added value to their experience.

6. Host Joint Events
Create an event or networking sessions to strengthen relationships with customers and attract new leads.

7. Provide Referral Incentives
Set up a referral program where you recommend each other’s services and offer incentives for successful referrals.

8. Guest Blogging –
Exchange guest blog posts on each other’s websites to introduce your expertise to the other business’s audience.

9. Collaborate on Giveaways or Contests
Run joint giveaways or contests to increase engagement and generate excitement around your partnership.

10. Create Co-Branded Marketing Materials
Design co-branded marketing materials such as brochures, flyers, or promotional merchandise to showcase your combined offerings.  

P.S – I shared my article with MagAI and asked chatty to give me examples for a range of professions
Here’s what they said.

### Matching Examples:

1. **Accountants:**
– Match: Small Business Consultants
– Collaboration Idea: Offer joint workshops on tax preparation tips for small businesses.

2. **Financial Advisors:**
– Match: Estate Planning Lawyers
– Collaboration Idea: Host a webinar on financial planning for retirement and will preparation.

3. **Business Consultants:**
– Match: Marketing Agencies
– Collaboration Idea: Co-author an e-book on effective business strategies and marketing techniques.

4. **Artists:**
– Match: Graphic Designers
– Collaboration Idea: Co-create a series of Instagram posts showcasing artwork and design elements.

5. **Shop Owners:**
– Match: Local Event Planners
– Collaboration Idea: Organise a community pop-up event featuring the shop’s products and event planning services.

These ideas and examples aim to inspire collaborative marketing initiatives that leverage the strengths of both parties to create engaging and impactful campaigns.


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