Don’t you just love buzz words and terminology!  Strategic partnerships are simply making great and mutually beneficial connections, building business contacts and good old fashioned making business friends.  Now while my interpretation may appear very simplistic, it does support all that I believe and advocate for in relation to the importance of networking!

What is a strategic partnership?
Linn O’Carroll an artist that I am ‘connected’ to through my work with the Young Gallery Salisbury talks passionately about connections through places, people and things.  She has recently joined Twitter and is excited about the world it has opened up to her through connecting with other artists, creative partnerships in all walks of life which create for her another lead or link in her work.

There is much we can take from Linn’s approach in the business community.  For me strategic partnerships are built with people or businesses that we feel connected with or are naturally connected with and want to work with.  We are excited by the opportunity of collaborative working with businesses or individuals that we recommend without hesitation and most likely already refer and talk highly about to others.

What makes a strategic partnership work?
A good networker is creating informal partnerships all the time, seeking out those that inspire or that they are naturally drawn towards and want to work with.  They will be promoting their ‘partners’ or the services they offer because believe in them and most likely have bought into them personally and of course because they are great at what they do!. 

Recommendation by others is surely the highest form of flattery and I am extremely fortunate to have started a business totally on referrals and if I say so myself I am a great networker which has resulted in others trusting me and knowing that I will do a good job!

There is also the more formal arrangement by where a contract is in place between two businesses or you seek out others with a shared aim or market for instance a florist may wish to collaborate with a wedding dress and cake supplier to share marketing and promotional opportunity to a targeted audience … the blushing bride!

How do I make strategic partnerships work for my business?
You are seeking out those that you have a connection with, as already mentioned a shared aim or objective.  Businesses that you want to be associated with and have a mutual respect for and that will be of benefit to your customer base!

Now while you may not wish to collaborative with someone in your chosen field this is not always the case.  My own sector of Virtual Assistants is a good example where we do not always have the skills to offer our clients so work with an associate to meet our client need.

The latest buzz word makes sense!
So how you form your strategic partnership is down to you, it will most likely develop with time and with an open mind bring increased connections and business success.  Partnerships undoubtedly open doors, provide credibility and show you are putting your customer first!