Seek Out Cooperation

Seek Out Cooperation

By Zach Heller

“In this new wave of technology, you can’t do it all yourself, you have to form alliances.” – Carlos Slim Helu, formerly Forbes’ Richest Man in the World

The business landscape is changing. All up and down the scope and size of businesses, you can now find businesses who are reaching out to other companies – sometimes even their direct competition – and working together.

It starts with this basic fact: there are companies that do things better than you can, cheaper than you can, faster than you can. And most often, no single company can do all things better than everyone else.
So in order to grow your business, a good leader will look outside his or her own walls and find other companies that can help.

Liz Strauss, social business strategist, writes on her blog that “When it comes to the business world’s recipe for success, it takes hard work and great partners in order for your small business to thrive.”
So how can you, as a manager and leader within your organization, begin to think about and create a culture that encourages strategic partnerships?

1. Train yourself to think outside the company’s walls. Admit that you don’t always have the best solution, or the right solution in house. It may feel like giving up at first, but you can ultimately build a more successful company by looking to outside resources and talents.

2. Train your team to do the same. Express your interest in pursuing strategic partnerships with the entire team. Sometimes the best connections and relationships won’t come from the very top. Anyone can have the right connection to a potential partner.

3. Reward innovative ideas and connections. Use incentives to encourage employees at all levels to think outside the box. They should explore their own personal and professional networks to find people working for companies that might be worth talking to. Develop a partnership referral network and recognize those who use it effectively.

4. Develop your network. Join industry trade organizations, attend conferences and events, develop your brand online, and subscribe to relevant media or educational resources. All of these things will introduce you to the people and tools that are worth knowing in your industry.

5. Outreach, outreach, outreach. Like a good salesperson, keep a regular habit of reaching out to find potential partners. Schedule it into your day like you would anything else. Liz Strauss reminds us that “Finding the right partner/s for your small business is all about forming a relationship and relationships take time.”

Do you have experience in building strategic partnerships? Share your own personal tips and experiences in the comments below.

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About the Author

Zach Heller is a marketing professional with years of experience in branding, digital response, and marketing communications. Zach has spent much of his career in education marketing, and his passion for education of all kinds has been fueled by working with leaders and companies around the world who push to change the way we think about learning. Through his work with several small and mid-sized companies, Zach has experienced firsthand the positive impacts of communication and strategic thinking in the workplace. Check out his marketing blog at

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