Partnerships are about working towards a common goal
On a basic level, partnerships are about aligning two or more people towards a common goal. Add success to the mix, and you’ll need each party to have unique yet complementary skills and knowledge that push the partnership to reach its goal. Now let’s talk business. Successful business partnerships. Ones that inspire new ideas and creative approaches that take your business above and beyond your previous notions. That’s more like it.
From sole proprietors to start-ups, successful business partnerships can be executed in any dynamic or model. We believe that when it comes to digital support from a third party, you have to view it as a partnership. Something with longevity. A relationship in which everyone is focused on long-term success and not just quick wins, which is what we strive for at N4.
Like anything in life though, forging the perfect partnership isn’t easy—and historically, the odds (70% of business partnerships fail [Forbes]) are stacked against you. But when the puzzle does come together, you’ll reap the benefits.
After entering what will be a successful business partnership, you instantly expand your capabilities and increase your strengths to a level that would typically take months, if not years, to achieve if you were simply to hire out or do it yourself.
Tips for building the right team
We’ve applied the below principles to a myriad of successful partnerships. It’s as close to a magic formula as you’re going to get, so take these tips on board during your journey to find the right digital partnership.
While this is an old adage, it rings vitally true in this situation. You want a partner that can reinforce your weak spots and offer knowledge or expertise that you don’t have, and vice versa. Not a numbers person? Look for one. Have great ideas but not a clue about execution? Find someone who does. Look for those with unique skill sets that have something to offer.
Overlapping skills wastes potential and resources, so always apply the opposites attract concept.
However, where you do not want to find yourself on opposing sides are values and vision. It’s essential that everyone on the team is working towards the same collective goal, and it’s crucial that everyone believes in it.
Selecting the optimal opposite for the team can be tricky and feel difficult to validate. You’re naturally inclined to gravitate towards those whose skills you understand and value, so you need to prioritise objectivity. Define clear markers of success and use those to assess whether they’re a good candidate.
Don’t rush it
Try to resist the urge to onboard someone ASAP. Eager excitement is normal when considering your business’s growth potential but trust us, take your time. Get to know the candidates over the course of a few separate engagements and allow them to get to know you too so both parties feel confident about the potential partnership.
Then, set yourselves up for success by creating mini goals and celebrating the wins as you go to create positive momentum and build confidence. If your gut and mind are in agreement and feel there’s traction once you’ve had these wins, that’s a great sign to move forward.
It’s easy to fall into a flow of regular meetings and project-focused sessions, so find ways you and your partners can communicate outside these regular ceremonies. This might be through social events or working sessions. But in any case, open dialogue is where you find the golden ideas and opportunities. Encourage and increase communication. Overshare data and analysis. This will stimulate richer and more detailed conversations about your business and its performance.
Become a true team
Define a clear decision-making process to get everyone on the same page for the most effective operations. Integrating your third-party partners leads to more natural discovery and encourages insights and support in ways you wouldn’t expect. As previously mentioned, including them in weekly meetings is an important gesture.
Allowing individuals—both inside and outside your organisation— to own a goal or territory is also an effective tactic that lets everyone perform autonomously where it matters. Regular tracking and goal setting ensures all parties are focused on delivering within their respective areas of growth.
Make your next partnership flourish with N4
N4 understands the challenges and possibilities of good partnerships, especially in the fast-paced world of digital. We believe a balanced and engaging partnership is the most effective way of working with any digital agency, and we’ve based our approach on this ethos. It fosters accountability and ensures a long-term vision is being applied to the overall deliverables.
We’ve worked with businesses of all shapes and sizes, from solopreneurs to SMEs and enterprise-level organisations. If you want to learn about how we work and what a partnership with N4 looks like, get in touch.