Over the past couple of years we decided to start partnering with other companies to broaden our market reach and increase our ability to provide a comprehensive suite of services and products.
There are two keys to forming any lasting relationship; trust and communication. This is especially true in business.
Trust is built on a foundation of strong ethics. You then have to be genuinely committed to the success of the relationship and for that to happen, both parties need to give. The final component is that you need to be trustworthy… do what you say you will do in a way consistent with what the other party expects.
What do both parties expect from the partnership? What are you prepared to give to the relationship? What are the boundaries? Who owns the client relationship? How will you resolve disagreements? How will you walk away (dissolve the partnership) if things don't work out or it is no longer required…and still be in good standing with your partner (it is possible)?
Communication starts at the beginning and goes through the entire relationship period. Even competitors can be partners if there is trust and communication.
Strong communication builds trust.
Admitting you messed up, apologizing and fixing the mistake is essential. Given enough relationships and enough time, everyone will mess something up.
Check your ego and pride at the door. These are relationship killers.
But creating lasting business partnerships is worth it… the great masters of business have understood this since the dawn of business.