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  • Writer's pictureFrank Fortner

Partnering For Growth

From the beginning of time, humans quickly figured out that they were better off joining forces with others than going it alone. There is strength, safety, efficiency, and a better overall return for one's labor when combined with others. These benefits are what made historic alliances so powerful, and they're still driving partnerships today in many areas of our lives, including the business world. One might even argue that in a global economy, partnerships are more necessary than ever. After all, there is only so much one person can do by themself. Most of us know probably know an entrepreneur who is very good at taking an idea from conception to fruition and perhaps even making a decent living as an individual. Some may start out on this path because they feel they will have more control over their time or the decisions of their company. But eventually, if they want to grow more than a little, they naturally hire talented folks with a similar passion who increase their bandwidth. This increase can help the entrepreneur expand the company's offerings, grow revenues and become exponentially wealthier as the return on labor increases significantly. I have to wonder, how wealthy would people like Bill Gates be as a one-person company? Whether you hire them or partner with them, adding the right people multiplies businesses. This multiplication is at the heart of why business partnerships work. For example, let's say you have a small company with an outstanding product or service, but perhaps only a 10-person sales & marketing team. Sure, you can do very well with your small team, but what if you could multiply that team by 10X? You could arguably have 10X the reach, 10X the contacts in your rolodex, 10X the opportunities in your pipeline, and 10X the signed contracts! The problem is that most small companies can't afford to do that because it would come with 10X the payroll costs. But what if you could have the 10X without adding to your payroll costs? If this were possible, it would be of enormous value. Well, this is precisely the value of working with people who believe in your products and services so much that they will go at risk for a small piece of the sale, ultimately boosting your sales, strengthening your team, and yielding a higher return. The $64,000 question is … what is that worth? What % of the sale would you be willing to give up to bring in deals you didn't have to work for? The smart business executive places a high value on a successful partnership because, keep in mind, these are deals where you had very little invested in the sales process. Until you received the order, you weren't doing the sales work or paying the salary and benefits of the business partner. You only give them a commission when they bring you a sale - a sale you weren't likely to get on your own. What's not to like about that? Managed well, this is a fantastic model for growth! It's also a terrible time to be greedy. For example, if your referral/reseller fees are too small, there won't be enough incentive for people to risk their time and reputation to bring you additional sales. That's just human nature. On the other hand, if properly valued and compensated, you will have a loyal, trusted, and committed partner who will work tirelessly to boost your business for many years. In reality, not everyone is seeking growth. Some businesses, by design, are very comfortable with keeping their operation small and manageable, earning a decent living. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. If, on the other hand, you want to grow faster, further, and phenomenally more profitable than you ever could by yourself, consider the tremendous value the right business partners can bring to the table. Then carefully seek them out, and work to make it a mutually beneficial relationship. It's a time-tested formula for growth!

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