The 4 Critical Components of Partnerships
There are many different kinds of partnerships. Some require more work and effort. Some are loosely connected to your goals. Others are so intertwined to your objectives that you cannot survive without them.
Regardless of how important the partnership is, there are several components that help create a mutually beneficial--and successful--partnership.
Time. Money. Effort. Whatever the currency involved, the coffers should be overflowing. No partnership is one-sided. Both sides must put in work. Sweat equity. Real equity. Whatever it takes. You have to bring something to the table. Think of it as a pot luck. You have to prepare a dish and bring it to the party if you want to eat.
When both sides put up initial capital, they both shoulder risk in the relationship. If there is a disproportionate investment between the parties, the burden of the success can fatigue the investing party and strain the partnership. Partners share both the risks and the rewards.
We all have our ideologies. We all have business models with finance guys that crunch numbers to ensure we keep the lights on. But, we have to be willing to concede things in order for a partnership to work. It doesn’t mean letting your partner take advantage of you. It doesn’t mean selling the farm. It just means you are willing to sacrifice on some items for a shot at long term success.
It is rare when all business objectives lineup for two parties. The important thing is to understand what items are non-negotiable and what items are open for discussion. Partnerships are built on give and take.
If there is anything that will ultimately make or break a partnership, it’s communication. Breakdowns, misunderstandings, arguments, and roadblocks are most always associated with communication. Either something wasn’t communicated or the message wasn’t interpreted as it was intended. Communication doesn’t mean that we have to reveal all the vital details of our business plan. It doesn’t mean sharing proprietary information or quarterly metrics. It does mean that open dialogue takes place around shared visions. It means asking for clarification if something is not easily understood. When communication flows, understanding increases. The end result is a deeper partnership.
Too often partnerships start with good intentions but fizzle out before the vision is realized.
One of the biggest reasons partnerships fold is because the end goal wasn’t shared. One party had the right end goal while the other focused on short term gains. Maybe the end goals were both good, but they were different goals. One of the best questions to ask at the beginning of a partnership is, “What does success look like?”
This is a critical question. You want to clear up confusion from the beginning about what outcomes you want to achieve. Do you want to increase market share? Increase profit? Increase users? The end goal must be clear--and agreed upon--in order for a partnership to thrive.
At Passport, we believe in partnerships. We believe in working hard to help cities and operators reach their goals. To see how we partner for success, watch our latest video.