Selecting A Business Partner: 10 Tips For Small Business

Carrie Maslen

I recently had the pleasure of participating in a Coffee Break with Game-Changers radio show about Small Business and Partnering. What a pleasure to speak with Bonnie D. Graham, the Businessmen Shaking Hands --- Image by © Redlink Production/Corbishost of the show, along with Susan Solovic and Morgan Browne, all about partnering.

Partners can be an invaluable asset and an extension of your small business. All panelists agree that partnering is essential and is here to stay, and that communication is critical to a successful partnering strategy and engagement.

Feel free to listen to the show by clicking here, or simply read the top 10 takeaways below:

Tip 1: Fail fast and fail often. Learning from failure can be the equivalent of an MBA.

Tip 2: Be open and honest up front with your investors. Make sure they understand the potential risks and rewards. And if you do fail, communicate right away with full transparency.

Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. Do something different and add value to the market.

Tip 4: Practice the Golden Rule when partnering. Since the dynamics can change from deal to deal or project to project, it’s all about integrity and respect. Remember, the person you’re competing with today might be your partner tomorrow.

Tip 5: Learn as much about your partners as you can before engaging. Read all you can on social media, get references, and go into a partnership as well informed as possible…

Tip 6: …but be sure to find the right balance between the “perfect” amount of due diligence and “good enough.” Don’t let “perfect” become the enemy of making progress.

Tip 7: Partner with people or companies that can provide complementary skills. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, and find partners to fill your gaps.

Tip 8: Put everything in writing. Avoid misunderstandings and ensure aligned expectations – even if your partners are the “3 F’s: Family, Friends, and Fools.”

Tip 9: The partner that got you from Point A to Point B may not be the same partner to get you to Point C. You need to look at the talent and skills, and knowledge that you will need to progress to the next level, and your current partner(s) may – or may not – meet these requirements.

Tip 10: Don’t be afraid to partner with a large organization. Remember that large organizations need the expertise and agility of small partners just as much as small companies need large partners.

To read more about the panel that shared their insights, follow the links and twitter handles below.

Morgan Browne is chief executive at the IIS Group, an SAP Business One ERP solution provider to small and medium-sized businesses in Ireland, the U.K. and the Netherlands. @iis_group

Bonnie D. Graham is host and moderator of Coffee Break with Game-Changers, presented by SAP, plus 15 other themed Game-Changers Radio series, all on the VoiceAmerica Business Channel, the worldwide leader in live internet talk radio. The show airs live on Wednesdays at 11 am EST / 8 am PST.

Susan Solovic is “THE Small Business Expert” and has appeared on Fox News, FOX Business the Wall Street Journal’s lunch break show, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC and other stations. @SusanSolovic

Want more insight on how to grow your business? See How to Avoid the Risks and Challenges in Creating Services for Products.


Carrie Maslen

About Carrie Maslen

Carrie Maslen previously held the role of Vice President, Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises, at SAP. She was responsible for increasing SAP's market share, relevance, and revenue in the Small and Mid-Sized business segment.