Business has always thrived on successful exchanges – exchanges of goods, of services, but ultimately, of ideas.
With more opportunities for outreach than ever, strong partnerships can be the difference between success and failure.
And as Social Entrepreneur Tina Hovespian attests in her contribution to Forbes, these relationships are not just limited to a business-to-business dynamic.
Encompassing close interaction between executives and employees, clients and customers, and companies and their outsources, the term can be used variably.
There are, however, three types of business relationships that reap the most benefits for agencies.
Initiated with the aim of exchanging knowledge, as opposed to money, these provide opportunities for professionals from similar areas of business and industry to mix, discuss and share ideas. Whilst the sharing of expertise can vary – taking place both off and on line (the latter of which relies on LinkedIn and other professional networks) – more and more businesses are meeting in person to mix.
According to Entrepreneur.com, these sessions typically follow the format of a conference, but on a smaller level, with guest speakers and discussions focussing on the specific area of expertise.
This is the relationship that most people think of when they hear the term ‘Business Partnership’. There is a reason why they are so prevalent in the business world: more often than not, they are mutually beneficial, and are not just initiated to exchange money for goods or services. For a business-to-business relationship to succeed, the service provided must be reliable, responsive, and offer quick results.
The partnership between Tuffnells and WA Products, for example, has resulted in huge rewards for both companies because the former was able to offer immediate support to its user thanks to the close proximity between their locations. This has resulted in WA Products being able to increase their number of dispatches per day, doubling the benefits for both companies in the partnership. As such. when considering a business-to-business relationship, therefore, it is worth noting influential factors like geography, as well as trade expertise.
Unsurprisingly, business directors are often reluctant to associate with their competitors. However, a large number of agency executives are initiating relationships with fellow company leaders in their own area of expertise, with the aim of sharing advice and support and initiating friendly competition between the two businesses.
Whilst a lot of professionals would view this as unnecessary, as a sense of rivalry inevitably exists between companies focussed on the same area, Mike Kappel advocates the benefits of this relationship in a piece for Smallbizdaily.com, stating that it promotes a supportive corporate environment. Two companies simultaneously growing their knowledge in a particular professional field also means a higher level of expertise, which in turn may generate more investment and interest from outside parties.
Whilst types of business relationships vary, individual professionals and companies as a whole will always face competition. But this is not something negative; in fact, all relationships in the business world can produce immense rewards for all parties involved. This of course applies to business-to-business relationships, too. For business leaders to succeed, knowing how to form, sustain, and make full advantage of these relationships is invaluable.