noun: A relationship between individuals or groups that is characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility, as for the achievement of a specified goal.
When we think about partners, we often think about significant others in a personal relationship, or we think about legal partners like Ernst & Young or Sears & Roebuck. But I like the definition above because it encompasses all types of cooperative arrangements, whether formal or not. And the reality is that our informal partnerships are critical to accomplishing whatever goals we have set for ourselves and our businesses.
I am going to use the term “strategic partnership” here to describe informal cooperative arrangements between individuals or organizations in a business context. If you operate a business you likely have several, maybe dozens, of these strategic partnerships, although maybe you don’t think of them that way. Examples are key vendors on whom you rely to deliver your product or service, customers who bring repeat business and referrals, and organizations with whom you engage in cross-promotion.
Thinking of these individuals and organizations as partners shifts the way you deal with them and helps you to remember that you are both supposed to get something out of the arrangement. These relationships should be nurtured and attended to on an active and regular basis.
How? The same way you attend to any important relationship. Show appreciation by sending personal thank-you notes or little gifts, leaving online reviews, giving them exposure in your newsletter or on your social media channels, or referring business to them when you can. And check in from time to time, invite your partner for a (socially distanced) cup of coffee, talk about whether the relationship feels equitable, and brainstorm ideas about how you might be able to help each other with your current objectives.
Such a conversation led to the partnership I am thrilled to announce this month. My friend Sarah Athanas is the founder of Groundwork, a super-cool coworking center in New Bedford. Sarah and I were chatting about ways we could support each other, and that chat turned into the Cowork Exchange Program, through which we are extending benefits to each other’s members. You can read more about this exciting new program by clicking here.
I am delighted to count Groundwork as a new partner, and I would like to send a big thank you to all our strategic partners without whom CapeSpace would not be the same. I’m sure I’ll leave someone out if I try to make a list here, but I’ll be in touch with every one of you, and I invite you to reach out to me any time. You know where to find me!
Thanks for reading this month’s “Word” with me!