Business partnerships play a vital role is success and growth of companies of all shapes and sizes. They allow organizations and their leaders to navigate the restless market waters and overcome obstacles. The old piece of wisdom that two heads are better than one certainly rings true here. However, building a relationship is not easy. You need to lay the foundations for relationships that stand the test of time and all the challenges that the business world throws at you. Here is how to make it happen and advance by leaps and bounds towards your set goals.

Due Diligence

One thing should be as clear as a day: there is not cutting corners here. Fostering a relationship always takes a lot of time, dedication and energy. It does not happen overnight or over the course of one casual coffee. Consistent work is the only way to create valuable and meaningful connections. Another key thing to note is that your business network should be composed of qualified individuals ready to provide support, guidance and insight to each other.

Therefore, you have to be authentic and also accept others for who they are. You cannot hide behind some impostor-like online persona. Instead, you have to get out there and establish trust. Therefore, be open about your strengths and weaknesses. Do not be afraid to show a bit of vulnerability. Share your fears and concerns. Communicate your expectations clearly. Invite others to do the same.

Finding common ground

To move forward, have a joint brainstorming session. One of the best signs that things are going in the right direction is a sense of having a natural connection and easy communication with someone. In a sense, you have to align personalities, ambitions, goals, beliefs and points of view. This is no walk in the park and you need to go into the relationship with an open mind.

Moreover, even with great and honest communication, it can be rather difficult to strike a fine balance between partners. This is easily one of the toughest challenges that business owners and executives face. Of course, partners that have a complementary skill set and expertise are in a better position to give and take in a portion that seems fair.

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Making it work

One person cannot do the heavy lifting, while the other takes advantage and calls the shots. Both parties are supposed to show loyalty. There are many things you can do to prove your commitment. For instance, I saw some Australian entrepreneurs utilizing professional chauffeur service in Sydney and other major cities to give partners a smooth ride to a meeting. These gestures and actions go a long way towards nurturing mutual respect and trust.

Once these foundations are in place, one can start reaping full benefits of business partnerships. Still, remember that a relationship is not set in stone— it is dynamic and alive, always on the move and changing. At one point, it is fine and even encouraged to get personal. So, have some one-on-one time outside the formal corporate environment. Learn more about each other’s stories. Plan a fun and causal activity together.

When it comes to the questions of where you should look for partners, answers vary. Of course, you can browse business networks such as LinkedIn to find like-minded individuals and reach out to them. I would also try to obtain referrals, which are the best form of compliment in the business world. Ask around your social and business circles and see if someone surfaces. You will not know for sure until you meet someone in person.

It takes two to tango

So, get ready to put in work. And when I say work, I mean both sides doing it in similar amounts. Be prepared to offer something before you ask for something. Find someone with whom you click and can spend time comfortably. Try do identify shared goals and values. Bear in mind that trust, respect and loyalty underlie all lasting relationships. Work hand in hand through all the difficulties, changes and challenges. In the end, you can rest assured that all the blood, sweat, and tears will be a drop in the ocean compared to the opulent benefits you are poised to gain.