How to Turn a Business Date into a Successful Partnership

Here are six tips to turn great expectations into a successful business partnership.

Let’s admit it.

Your companies would look great together.

You both have the same vision, you’re both good on paper — product offerings are complimentary and you really seem to get each other.

However, can you see the potential?

Many businesses seemingly overlook the importance and significance of going on business dates — courting other companies who represent a strong strategic fit operationally and for their customer base. Dating in business is purposeful and if done correctly, it can land you a successful strategic partnership that is built to last.

When you’re introduced to a potential business partner, there are specific things you can — and should do — to spark their attention and keep it.

Here are six tips to turn great expectations into a successful business partnership.

1. Make the call.

Once you’re introduced by another peer, or company to a potential strategic partner — take the lead. If you truly understood the potential value (i.e. branding, marketing, monetary, operations, etc.) of capitalizing on each others strengths you wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone.

Remember, if you aren’t making that call — another company definitely will.

2. Be clear about who you are and your intentions.

Once you connect with a potential business partner, be clear about what your company does and how you can benefit the other party — and what you expect in return. If you fail to set expectations upfront it can easily be construed that you don’t respect the other party’s intelligence and time. Deception about these two areas can dilute your credibility and market value.

Let’s be honest — successful companies will not spend an ounce of investment in unproductive areas or partnerships.

3. Don’t play business games.

Once you’ve opened conversations, be transparent at each step. In other words, don’t play business games.

Leave the coy, aloofness at the door. Charm, charisma and talent without skill may have helped you float by in some instances, but it can quickly catch up with you. For instance, if your business proposal indicates that you possess specific core competencies — ensure you can deliver.

Time is money, therefore, when you involve a third-party in your initiatives make sure you don’t waste either. It’s rare that two companies join forces without a specific goal, but “If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time (Chinese Proverb).”


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