Collaboration logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We live in the age of collaboration. All around us, silos are becoming extinct and joint ventures have emerged as the new marketing tool to fill our practices.
For most of us, it’s still a new experience to marry another business—whether for the duration of a co-promotion, an event or even a longer term joint venture project.
Here are some personal pet peeves to avoid when collaborating with another business (this is very similar to finding a real life marriage partner by the way!)
Not speaking the same language
If by “we’ll connect soon” you mean tomorrow and they mean a week from now, this is a huge factor in how well the collaboration might go. I say scope out the first few interactions and bail quickly if you’re not in synch.
Not setting expectation of collaboration at beginning
While you might love making new friends, you’re in this partnership to ultimately make more money. Whether you’re expecting more exposure, new leads, list access or cost sharing from your joint venture, clarify and quantify what each of you are expecting before you start the partnership. Also talk about contingencies of what happens if either party can’t deliver those expectations. There’s nothing worse than a wasted partnership that goes sour.
Not making a fair division of duties
I collaborated with a partner on an event where I agreed to doing most of the work and getting no cash rewards for the benefit of getting client leads for my coaching business. The unfairness of the division of duties, not to mention the lack of cash while I busted my chops to fill seats rankled deeply even though it was MY IDEA to do it that way. Since that experience, I’ve never offered to do anything more than my partner and never accepted anything less than equal profits.
Not making sure your brand characters mesh well together
If you’re strictly George Clooney territory and you’re doing a partnership with a business whose brand character is channelling Howard Stern, clearly there’s a mismatch and any partnership will be potentially confusing and may be personally frustrating for all involved.
Once you’ve covered these ground rules, go ahead and join the bandwagon of collaboration. You’ll see that one truly is the loneliest number—even in business.
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