There are two major categories of partnering that I can think of:
- Related services or products,
- Un-related (or at least not obviously related) services or products.
Related partners are the obvious situations, where you are in related lines of business. If you focus on the Microsoft suite then partnering with Microsoft makes sense. If you are a desktop support company then partnering with a networking company might make sense.
It can be with a competitor or non-competitor. Maybe working with a competitor can bring you a larger contract than you could get on your own.
Then there are partnerships that aren't so obvious on the surface. However, when they are combined they bring something new and remarkable to the marketplace.
Say you have person who makes really good, award winning chili. That person could partner with someone who plays fiddle. Food and music like that would be really popular, especially for special events.
During stampede week here in Calgary you might do extremely well.
That is creative partnering.
Who do you know that you could partner with to create something better for the market? Now go talk to them.