By Dennis Collet, CEO of Orderella

Starting a business is never easy, there’s so many things to consider from developing your idea to hiring the right people, all just to get your company off the ground. As an entrepreneur it’s easy to get caught up in the idea with your head down, focusing on the immediate actions you need to take and forget about the big picture. But it is that big picture that will ultimately determine whether your business will succeed or not in the long term.

Identifying the right partner

Once you do get your feet off the ground, identifying the right business to partner with is almost important as the service you’re delivering. So, first things first, do your research. We all like to think we know everything about the industries we’re in, but it’s really beneficial to identify who are the companies out there to potentially partner with in the first place and what they’re doing at the moment. Go to industry events, join LinkedIn groups, talk to people you already know in the industry, it all builds up to giving you a greater perspective of the sector you’re entering.

Don’t be afraid to approach the big names either if you genuinely feel you have something that can benefit both them and you. Remember, at one time they would have been in the same situation you are now. Before you set up that meeting though, look at the types of companies they have partnered with in the past or are currently partnering with. What have they done? Are they similar to your company? What was the end outcome? It’s great to identify who you think might be your perfect partner, but they may already be tied into a deal with a rival of yours and the opportunity is no longer there.

Standing your ground

Having identified the right business to partner with, it’s now time to negotiate terms. Don’t be afraid to push back on something you don’t think will benefit your business. There has to be compromise, of course, from both sides, but you shouldn’t enter into an agreement that you don’t feel comfortable with or at least feel you’re getting as much from the deal. Make sure to stand your ground when it comes to exclusivities. If you’re not happy to offer an exclusive to one business, then be prepared to walk away or negotiate an exclusivity period you’re comfortable with.

Partnerships can be a tricky process to arrange, but the benefits can be huge. Securing that deal can help bring increased brand awareness, improved sales and further partnerships based on the ties the company has that you’re working with.

Working nine to five

Once the agreement is in place, the day to day work should be relatively straight forward. It’s important to set expectations at the beginning and keep dialogue open at all times. This is a partnership after all and should benefit both of you, rather than see it dominated by one side. Identifying any issues early and addressing them immediately will stand you in good stead for a lasting and successful relationship.

Remember, partnerships can make or break a company, so don’t enter into anything lightly. Put the work in before and you should reap the rewards later on.