Creating partnerships is a natural evolution of business growth. Working with other businesses not only benefits you and pushes your business towards its goals, but the same applies for the person with whom you partner. Partnerships should be mutually beneficial and not just one-sided. Think about it this way. Who is your best friend? Is it someone you constantly pour into without receiving anything in return? Probably not. If you consider this person a best friend, then it’s because the relationship is mutually encouraging, and I believe this is how a healthy relationship not only is maintained, but also lasts. There are first a few things to consider before beginning a partnership with another brand, then after you have decided to partner, we can dive deeper into how exactly to maintain that relationship.
First, you need to know who you are. What is the DNA of your business? What do you want to be known for? What do you value? After you have fleshed this out and can successfully explain this to someone else, then you can begin to look for partnerships. This is the key into knowing exactly who you are: you can successfully explain it. If you cannot put into words what your business is about, then you need to hash it out a little more before you seek to partner. For example, when I accept or search for people to partner (or write blog content!) with/for The School of Styling, I want to know that he/she will help us do one (or all) of three things: Encourage, Equip, and Educate. That is what we are about. So I first need to make sure they line up with one of our 3 E’s.
Secondly, stand firm. There are SO many amazing businesses and brands out there. There are so many confident and attractive women/men out there who do an excellent job at his/her craft. There are tons of brands who have thousands of followers and have flashy products, and you think that partnering with them could be the next best thing. But I caution you. It may not be! If a brand does not push and encourage you to hold tight to who you are, this may mean that it is not a good fit. Do not compromise who you are even if a partnership looks appealing. This is why it is so important to know exactly what you want your business to stand for, because standing on shakey ground could lead to an unwarranted tumble. You have worked hard to build your brand, so choose wisely and without hesitation. If you are hesitant about a certain partnership, it means you are questioning. So wait. Wait until you are confident and sure. Then move forward. If you never become sure, then it is possible this partnership isn't in the best interest of your business!
Lastly, make sure that this brand values your time and resources. And make sure they are willing to offer their time and resources in return! Remember, it is suppose to be mutually beneficial! It should not be draining on either end, but one that leads to productive results. Guard your time and guard your resources. Give them the respect they deserve!
Now that you know the DNA of your brand, next time we will discuss how this information should lead to choosing the right partnership, and what to do with that partnership. Stay tuned!