Have you ever stopped to consider how the suppliers and people you work with reflect on your brand?

As part of networking it is common for business owners to look for other businesses to collaborate with and to contemplate how we can work with them. The decisions a business owner makes in terms of who to partner with can impact positively or negatively on their brand. Here are some criteria that you might like to consider so that you get a really nice match for your brand and business.

  1. Alignment
    In order to have a really good partner in business you need to make sure that your ethics, your goals and the way that you do business is aligned.
  2. Commitment
    Having a similar commitment to working is important. Valuing similar processes, administration and levels of customer service is key to ensuring your brand stays intact. For example imagine working with another business or supplier that doesn’t value a speedy turnaround. They may let you down, then you are not your word and that negatively affects your brand.
  3. Mutual Interest
    If two people are not benefiting from a relationship then really why bother! The great thing about business relationships is that you can openly discuss “What’s in it for me?” It’s important to have the discussion and work creatively to ensure that each partner receives value from the collaboration. If it’s unequal then drop it.
  4. Communication
    How do you like to communicate and how often? What works for your customers? If you’re an email person and your business partner is a phone person who is always ringing you on the phone it might drive you nuts. Someone with a different communication style may be more suitable for you or your clients.
  5. Accountable and Responsible
    When sussing out a partner get some reference checks. Find out if they are accountable and responsible. The last thing you need is someone bailing out on you and leaving you holding the baby (so to speak). You want your brand and your customer relationship to stay in tact.
  6. Professional Conduct
    Do you like the way your suppliers and business collaborative partners conduct themselves professionally? If there is something that doesn’t work for you then heed the warning! It might be their presentation, their office, their demeanor, their business writing if it’s not to your standard or style, this can impact on your brand if you are working with them or if your customers are in contact with them.
  7. Pre-Agreed Dispute Resolution Arrangement
    You need to assume the best but plan for the worst and it’s always helpful to decide on how you will resolve issues as they arise. Mediation is a good way to do this. I recommend Sheila Freedman.

I’m prone to a little bit of enthusiasm that can on occasions cloud my judgment. Having a checklist like this one is perfect to help me make good decisions. I hope you find it useful too.

Source: Small Business Commissioner