Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash
Sometimes dealing with new stakeholders and building professional relationships can feel more challenging than building up your business. Don’t let feelings of stress and pressure discourage you from making the effort because when done well, it will pay you back twofold. Here are five key steps to help you foster alliances in business:
1. Show Your Gratitude
Say thank you in person and when appropriate, offer a token of your appreciation. No need to overthink this, as there are plenty of branded corporate gifts that are tailored for professional relationships. Beautifully packaged sweet treats or snacks that contain a Thank You card always goes over well, just not if you overdo it. You can opt for something more flashy when celebrating a milestone like a business success or your corporate partner having a baby!
2. Stay In Touch
Staying in touch throughout the year is a great way to keep your connection with your client alive past holidays and special occasions. You don’t need to get too chummy but an occasional email, phone-call or professional lunch to talk about your business, your progress towards goals and potential collaborative ideas or shared goals will go a long way. These opportunities are great for asking for referrals or drumming up new business.
3. Grant Favors and Offer Help When You Can
If you want another business or individual to help you by forming an alliance, partnership or collaboration of any sort, you’re going to need to prove your value first. Offer your services or support in an area they need help with, especially if they’re starting to reach out. Show your can-do attitude and generous nature while at the same time providing a sample of your service capabilities. It’s win-win, it feels good and you’re more likely to get help in return in your times of need.
4. Collaboration Builds Strength
To solidify your connection, you need to fall in love with the practice of collaboration or at least acknowledge its potential. If an opportunity arises to host an upcoming networking event or workshop, or to work on a project along with prospective alliances, take it (provided it’s in your realm of capability). Not only will this allow you the opportunity to build rapport and get to know more about their businesses and skills, but it’s also a great way to test if you’re a good match for future work together, or if you’re better as friendly acquaintances or a professional support system.
5. Choose Your Partnerships Wisely
If you want to go the extra mile and form an ongoing partnership, be sure to take your time with the decision-making process. Reflect on your original vision for your business and your values, then compare them with those of the other party. If they align, proceed to explore the possibilities of how your partnership will benefit both your business and whether in the long term, it’ll serve as an asset or a liability.
Opening your business to outside influences will always come with an element of risk. If all of the above steps have proven successful in your interactions and you can see yourselves working towards shared goals, then it may be a possibility worth exploring.
Now that we’ve demystified some of the important steps to fostering strong business alliances, the rest is up to you.