A strategic partnership can be an ideal way for progressive organizations to work collaboratively and leverage individual strengths, while remaining independent and focused on core competencies. These Partnerships can result in expanding your customer base by creating access to new markets and providing new solutions to existing clients. Strategic partnerships strengthen each business and achieve mutual aspirations faster by leaning on one another’s experience, network and resources.

A strategic partnership gives a competitive advantage and allows you to extend a broader range of opportunities. Your partner can offer skill sets and services that differentiate you from your competitors. A popular example is the strategic partnership between brands like Starbucks and Barnes & Noble bookstore. Another example is a Human Resource Consultant working closely with an Affordable Legal Plan through LegalShield. While both Human Resource Services and LegalShield offer complimentary services designed to offer a mutual client peace of mind, each resource also presents an opportunity for each of the partners to expand their marketplaces.

Here is a deeper look into how an HR Consultant and Affordable Legal Plan Strategic Partnership can work: an employer in the commercial construction industry is expanding his workforce, adding new employees. On the one hand he may need HR assistance with Training and Development, and an updated Employee Handbook. When adding an Affordable Legal Plan as a strategic partner, the benefit is that the business owner gets access to an HR Professional who specializes in Human resources, while also facilitating access to a designated top law firm offering Affordable Legal services, where they lean on the law firm to review legal documents, assist with legal consultation/correspondence, hiring/firing or collection letters. In the end, both services share a mitigating risk as a common element that they deliver.

When looking for a beneficial strategic partnership, know that you will be working closely together, so it is important to have perspective on how your partnership can streamline processes that help augment your services. It is also important to develop a good connection with your strategic partner.

Here are tips to finding the right strategic partner.

Clear Goals: You must establish clear objectives and goals. You want to make sure all parties know exactly what you do, what you are looking for and what you want out of the partnership. Don’t be vague or you won’t get what you want. This allows you to benchmark project success and make sure there will be no surprises on outcomes and needs. This will also make sure everyone is aligned and on the same page with what each of you are looking for.

Research the Partner: You want to determine if the services or products your partner possess, align with your business. It is important to make sure both parties will benefit going into business together. By researching your partner, you can identify where your individual services will complement one another and be mutually beneficial. The most promising tool is using your network and recommendations to find the right partner you will feel more confident with.

Honesty: Being honest and transparent is the easiest way to gain trust with someone. By being honest with this potential partner, you can make sure both parties have a clear concept of what to expect in the potential partnership. Be forthright about your strengths and weaknesses in your business and mention where you can leverage your potential partners services. Your business strengths may be your potential partners weakness and vice versa. By divulging both, you can demonstrate the value both parties will bring to the partnership.

Communication: Keeping in contact with your partner is a great way to establish a good relationship and figure out objectives along the way. Maintain weekly/biweekly check-ins to talk through concerns or just to see how things are going. This will build trust on both ends and will ensure you deal successfully with issues or changes in processes.Understand your Business: Don’t be afraid to be honest about your lack of understanding of some business concepts. Otherwise, trying to do something you are not familiar with could lead to costly mistakes. Finding a partner that is knowledgeable about the functions you are struggling with can help enhance your expertise