New Article: Co-Branding During the Economic Downturn: Building Partnerships That Work

As the economic climate remains grim, have you noticed that more people are jumping onto the ‘relationship’ bandwagon?  This recently came to my attention while meeting with a new company to discuss how our businesses could help each other.  All they talked about was their business, and after about an hour they finally asked; “Well what do you do?” That was the wakeup call for me.

It’s great to know that many people are reaching out to work with you, and connecting and networking with other businesses are essential for building a successful business. However, I wonder that if the economy was in a better state, would people still be willing to work together?  Once we are out of the recession, will those same businesses still see the value in forming relationships and networking with other companies?

It seems that everyone is using the word relationship, (the “R” word) these days, but I don’t think many businesses really get it.  Building a relationship with other businesses isn’t simply about saying it, but that there is real, genuine effort behind it.  Relationships that are built on mutual agreements, understanding and an honest connection that benefits both parties involved are the ones that survive through both bad and good economic times.  Nurturing a relationship takes time, and it doesn’t happen with just one phone call or one meeting.

Another situation where I witnessed the “R” word phenomena was during an event to showcase businesses in the event industry.  One of the vendors there was clearly upset and after about 15 minutes of ranting and complaining, she says, “We need to work together and build a strong relationship.” It left me wondering if she really meant it, or was just saying it for the sake of ‘relationship building.’

The reason my business has been so successful so far is because of the sold business relationships and connections I’ve made with other vendors and business owners.  While I do agree that we should be working together, pooling our resources and collaborating on projects and ideas, I also think it’s important to team up with companies that aren’t just looking for a quick fix.  Companies that are looking for a partnership through the long haul will be the ones that truly are the best fit for your business.  If you are the type of business owner who keeps hearing the word ‘relationship’, you need to step back and take a real look into the other company’s approach and genuineness behind it.  You must also share some of the responsibility of this relationship.  Ask yourself if you feel a solid connection and are truly engaged with the other business owner, and interested in what they do.   If you are not, this won’t be a relationship that will be worth pursuing for the long-term.

Business relationships must be seen as long-term investments.  Both parties must be willing to invest the time and effort into promoting and helping the other business as needed, and sometimes, the other company may simply not be the right fit.  If the company’s objectives and goals are similar to your own, there’s a good chance that the relationship will benefit both parties.  Sales expert Jeff Gitomer quotes: “If you make a sale, you can earn a commission. If you make a friend, you can earn a fortune.”




March 30, 2009. article.

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