The importance of Partnership

Partnerships make us stronger and one of the positive consequences of the recession has been a greater willingness to seek new relationships and potential partnerships. I usually highlight lessons from the world of sport, but in this case I’d prefer to draw something from nature. I’m talking here about ‘symbiotic’ relationships, the word taken from the Greek meaning ‘living with’. Think of the shark and the pilot fish. They co-exist and perform a mutually beneficial function – the pilot fish removes parasites from the predator’s  skin while the shark serves as a scary minder for its tiny hitchhiker.

We’ve seen new relationships forming in business – Orange Wednesdays and Pizza Express, Waterstone’s and Costa Coffee. They’re complementary brands and they’ve effectively ‘fused’ to become a stronger whole. But even on a smaller scale, there are opportunities for SME’s to form symbiotic relationships with other complementary, non-competing companies. Think of who might add value to your product or service, a company with a similar profile of customer, and approach them with a suggestion that does the same thing for them. You tap into each other’s client bases while adding value to those existing relationships.

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