The power of partnerships

Peanut butter and jelly, Sherlock and Watson, bacon and eggs — some things go better together. That’s often the case with businesses, which can see more growth and opportunity by embarking on strategic, mutually beneficial partnerships.

Forging partnerships helps expand a company’s reach and make progress in development and innovation. Instead of siloing ideas and keeping them away from the competition, strategic alliances help both parties grow, improving the industry and expanding opportunities for employees and customers.

A successful partnership takes work. It isn’t something a leader can enter into quickly and expect to see immediate returns. However, when done strategically with a focus on the value-added, they can lead to great results.

There are numerous examples of successful business partnerships, but consider these two examples:

Apple & MasterCard

Apple Pay, or tapping a phone to make a payment, has revolutionized how customers shop and pay. However, Apple’s great idea wouldn’t have succeeded without credit card companies' partnerships.

MasterCard was the first credit card company to allow its users to store their credit card information on Apple Pay. By leading the charge, MasterCard made transactions more accessible for its customers. It attracted new customers who wanted Apple Pay but couldn’t access it with their other credit cards. The partnership took off, and other credit card companies followed suit, transforming the industry.

Pottery Barn & Sherwin-Williams

Paint and furniture attract many of the same types of customers. Pottery Barn and Sherwin-Williams entered a co-branding partnership to create an exclusive line of paint and list them on Pottery Barn’s website so customers could easily find the right shade to match their furniture.

This partnership is a win for everyone involved: Pottery Barn and Sherwin-Williams were introduced to new customers and strengthened their relationships with existing customers. Customers had access to a smooth buying process. Customers could create beautiful spaces by eliminating the guesswork about furniture and paint colors.

When looking into strategic business partnerships, either short-term or long-term, consider these three tips for success:

Seek Opportunities Together

The purpose of a partnership is to grow together. Companies and leaders may have to think outside the box and do things outside their comfort zones to grow and expand when seeking opportunities together. David Light, CEO of Valisure, shared how his company’s partnerships with Kaiser and the Department of Defense opened opportunities for both parties: Valisure was able to reach millions of customers through its partners’ existing networks, and the partners had access to innovative pharmaceutical quality assurance. Because of that partnership, the companies were able to create new programs together to change the industry and better serve customers.

Grow and Innovate

A partnership is more vital than two individuals. What do you each bring to the table? How can you grow together and challenge the status quo to create something more significant and more impactful than you could on your own? Take advantage of each company's benefits and unique position to do something new and creative together.

Be Mutually Beneficial

In a strong partnership, there’s no room for competition. Each partner puts forth their best effort because they know they will benefit greatly. When a partnership is unbalanced or lopsided, it becomes a drag on both parties and is no longer effective. Great partnerships require clear communication and vital goals so that both sides benefit.

As your company grows, look for potential partners that can expand your mission and reach. You can contribute your unique abilities and learn from others. Together, a partnership can take your business to new heights.

Written by

Michelle Kaiser
Michelle Kaiser

Senior Editor | CEO.com

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