Building a trusting relationship is critical for the start and continuation of any business relationship.
A “true partnership” – takes some hard work – and time. Laying the foundation for a solid working relationship from the very beginning should make everyone feel comfortable that a working business partnership will be worthwhile in the long run. Both the investor and investee should consider these strategies for getting to know each other before signing any contract:
1. Be Available and Responsive
Spending time to get to know the other party is important. Whether it’s in person, by phone or in an online meeting, plan a regular meeting as often as is comfortable. And do meet in person, which is still the easiest way to communicate. Meet for lunch, take a hike, play golf, go running or just be available to really get to know the other party’s strengths and weaknesses – on a business and personal level. In addition, get back to them in a timely manner when they call or email. While surprising, many a relationship has failed because one party did not respond promptly enough to a message.
2. Be Open
Be transparent about how you conduct business, including how you resolve problems as they arise. Share what has worked well in the past and what you might need to improve upon. Give examples. The more open communication there is between parties, the easier it will be to keep everyone satisfied and any issues resolved. Keep each other informed about new services or any news pertaining to your businesses that might help either party decide to go ahead with the investment.
3. Be Prepared
Whether you are the investor or investee, come to each formal meeting armed with the information you need to demonstrate why you should work together. Discuss the success of past investments by bringing along a case study or two. Highlight a recent client relationship that went especially well – and why – or one that didn’t go so well but disclose the steps you took to resolve it. Or if you’re at the right point in an investment-type relationship, bring in your company’s revenue data showing the projected growth to further demonstrate why you’re an attractive investment.
4. Be Quiet
As in any successful relationship, you need to really listen to fully understand what the other is looking to accomplish. So make sure that when it’s your turn to listen, you do.
5. Be Flexible
As you’re listening, be open to suggestions on running your business or providing your services. As you grow, needs change, and as your competitive environment shifts, how you provide the services may not work as well as it previously did. Know that when both parties learn to work together, both will bring ideas to the table and learn from each other.