There is more than one kind of partnership. In the business world we are used to see it as a group of people who get together to start or take control of a company, or two groups of investors that merge two companies into one to eliminate overlap and increase their services to their customers.
There is another type of partnership where neither party relinquishes any control nor is taken over. This is a temporary partnership where two companies come together to serve the customer of one of the companies to provide a service which one of the companies does not offer or have expertise on, and to succeed or offer a good service means having to change direction or stretch limited resources beyond what is possible.
This is the way of the future for all small to medium sized companies. The segments where you will find the companies that are successful and sought after are the companies that provide an excellent service in a timely manner and with courtesy. A business that over-extends itself continuously will never provide the kind of service that customers look for and will not survive.
A partnership allows small to medium businesses to provide a wider range of services and solutions to their customers in areas that are not addressed by their specific business without stretching limited resources or taking them away from other contracts and failing to provide good service.
Many times your customers will ask for a service or line that you do not provide. In these instances the wise thing to do is to partner with a company that does provide that service and has the same business values and ethics as your company. All are winners in this situation. Your customer receives the service that it needs, your business gains in reputation as a problem solver and great service, and your partner has additional business.
There are some things worth mentioning here, when we form this kind of partnership we have to have a binding agreement in place that both companies will agree to be bound by and follow.
- Clearly spell out who is the contact with the customer.
- Clearly state how the customer will be notified, or not, of the partnership, we do recommend that the customers will be kept informed, sooner or later they could find out.
- Clearly state who and how new business leads for new business and expansion of the partnership with additional customers will be handled.
- Financial Arrangements:
- Who pays for the expenses that may be incurred and how.
- How the payments will be divided amongst the partners.
- Who is responsible for what under the partnership.
- Periodic reporting on status of the project or projects being worked on by both parties under the partnership.