Startups do find it tough when starting out – revenue is slow, hours are unending, and it’s hard to come by finance.
Hopefully, with hard work and a strong business model, your startup may grow and scale into a viable and profitable business.
So how can you achieve this end and what networks do you have around you that could help facilitate this?
Building strong and lasting partnerships can bring about new opportunities and revenue streams because both parties have a tangible incentive.
We set out three questions you should ask first to ensure these relationships prosper.
Why Are You Doing This?
All startups will need to define their business’ “why” – are you operating out of fear, boredom or because you want a vacation from what you were previously doing?
If so, you’ll quickly find yourself overrun, overworked and overwhelmed.
It’s important to think about the big picture rather than getting bogged down with the daily tasks as this can badly impact your productivity.
If stress becomes a recurring theme, you risk burning out.
Instead, take a moment to regather yourself before you go any further.
Where Will Your Partners Come From?
You’ve identified and articulated your purpose and feel focused.
Now you need to find your strategic partners.
Strong partnerships can elevate your sales by broadening your network and creating new revenue streams.
For instance, a partnership between an IT consulting firm and a website developer might bring about opportunities for both parties to refer work to each other.
Good relationships are an integral component to good business.
By affiliating with a reputable business, these relationships help to qualify your business service or product.
Regarding “social proof”, these relationships contribute to validating your business.
You’ll have to approach each partnership strategically to ensure it produces results (i.e. new sales opportunities).
Do Both Partners Receive Value From the Partnership?
Imagine you are trying to grow a coaching business and are searching for some new referral partners.
Ideally, you will look for partners in industries that have an alignment with your service offering.
For example, accountants will have clients that need business coaching.
These clients could be referred under a referral or introducers commission-based model.
Or you might look to partner with business consultants, whose clients will likely need a business coach to prepare them for the growth.
In the meantime, you might refer clients back to the business consultant for assistance in developing their business.
If both organisations are sufficiently incentivised, and the clientele report good service on both ends, the strategic partnership should continue.
No matter what metrics you measure your partnership against – whether it’s revenue, the number of leads, visits to the site or landing page, or some form of cross-promotional marketing – strategic alliances create new opportunities for business growth.
The secret is in the value that each party can gain from the other.
Good strategic relationships give confidence to startup founders and serve as a welcome reminder that startups are “in this together” – supporting one another’s growth along the way.