Between increased efficiencies, a wider range of offerings and a shared burden of work, collaborations between businesses can offer both sides innumerable benefits. The key is forging the right partnerships with an eye toward future gains at the right time.
So how can entrepreneurs discern which partnerships will prove beneficial long term? It boils down to their ability to spot the right cues. Below, 11 Forbes Business Council members each share one green flag entrepreneurs should watch for when partnering with another organization and why these signs can signal future collaborative success.
1. Mission And Goal Alignment
One of the important green flags to observe is alignment in values and mission. If you find that another organization shares many of the same goals and objectives as your own business, then chances are they will be invested in making sure that both entities benefit from the partnership over time. As an entrepreneur, it pays to carefully consider whether or not this kind of compatibility exists. – Michael Shribman, APS Global Partners Inc.
2. A Shared Values System
One should only seek to partner with a company that shares one’s company values. If you are struck by what you see are unhappy employees, overwhelmingly negative reviews or a lack of solid organizational leadership, run for the hills—you would be taking an unnecessary risk with a reward that might come at the price of way too much pain. – Leelila Strogov, AtomicMind
3. Corresponding Offerings
Shared values are critical, but only if the offerings of both companies can complement one another. The proposed outcomes of the partnership should elevate both companies in multiple ways. For example, the other party may enhance your depth of services while you might increase their market share and penetration. This type of potential for reciprocity strengthens the viability of the partnership. – Tej Brahmbhatt, Watchtower Capital
4. Integrity And Respect For Your Work
You can find many attributes in a great partner. They may be famous, technologically advanced, curious and generous, but if they lack integrity and don’t respect all the hard work that you are doing, you must run and never look back as there will not be anything sustainable down the road. – Khamzat Asabaev, SoftSmile
5. A Commitment To The Partnership
One key green flag entrepreneurs should look for when partnering with another organization is how invested the potential partner is in the partnership. If the other company is committed to making it work and goes the extra mile, this is a great sign that they are genuine and want to ensure success. It’s also a good indicator of their trustworthiness and commitment to mutual growth. – Erik Pham, Health Canal
6. Complementary Strengths
One green flag entrepreneurs should look for when partnering with another organization is a shared vision and complementary strengths. When both partners are aligned on their values and goals, with each bringing unique expertise to the table, it can create a mutually beneficial relationship that leads to success for both parties. – Zeynep “Z” Ekemen, Silver Defender
7. Strong Expertise
Based on my personal experience, I choose people who are helpful in a specific area, such as sales, business management, marketing or delivery. One important green flag is that my potential partner has strong expertise in a certain area, either personally or as a successful company. Note that mutual understanding is also crucial. – Vladislav Kraynov, MSOFT
8. A Track Record Of Success
You should look for a track record of success, as it demonstrates competence and expertise in the industry. This track record can also be a strong indicator that the potential partner has the skills, knowledge and experience to help your business succeed. The main reason organizations consider partnerships is to help their organization succeed better, so a track record of success is critical. – Dr. Ope Banwo, Mobisoft360 Inc.
9. A Similar Approach To Problem-Solving
Assuming that a potential partner has sterling credentials, look into how both of you approach problems and situations. While you might both be good at what you do, if your approach and world views are different, that might create problems working together in the future, especially if neither of you are willing to adjust to each other. – Zain Jaffer, Zain Ventures
10. A Desire To Remove Ambiguity
The biggest green flag is when a potential partner is striving for the same level of clarity and alignment as you are. If they’re attempting to remove as much ambiguity as possible when it comes to how your two companies will benefit one another, it’s a great sign that they’re focusing on what’s best for both parties. – Ty Allen, SocialClimb
11. Mutual Understanding Of The Work Required
Both sides of a partnership need a mutual understanding of the goal and open communication throughout the process. For example, if an entrepreneur is partnering with another organization to develop a new product, both parties should be clear on the product vision, timeline, budget and resources needed. They should agree on their roles and responsibilities, as well as how to measure success and share profits. – Johan Hajji, UpperKey
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