Industry Innovators: #1 Trait Driving Successful Partnerships

There’s a good reason why the old adages, “It’s a two-way street” or “It’s a give and take…” are popular among couples who describe why their relationship works well: they’re true. Depending on how you think about this sentiment might reveal why your relationship with another company or organization is either sinking or setting sail on a course towards success.

When it comes to business-related partnerships (because we’re not personal relationship experts), if you focus on the most essential aspect of a strong partnership, you’re bound to find that solid, reliable partner your business always wanted.

Not long ago, Sparkfly found that special someone in a new partner – an innovative tech startup that’s redefining the online ordering process for restaurants and their digital customers. After the initial discussions and meetings, it didn’t take long for us to realize that they were a partner worthy of our time, investment, energy, focus, and everything else that comes with a budding partnership. Nevertheless, the stars still had to align before making things official.

We’ve always considered ourselves an advocate for the brands Sparkfly aligns with; it’s in our DNA. It’s extremely difficult for partnerships to thrive when you’re not in-sync with one-another or don’t fully believe in what the other is all about (which can be a lot). So, when we were in discussions with our soon-to-be partner, it was vital for us to ensure that they were in-line with Sparkfly’s identity. What we found was revealing, not only of them but the way we assess our potential partners:

  • Unique Point-of-view—This partner is newer to the market but is also entirely composed of people who’ve worked in the restaurant business, so they think about things in a different way when it comes to industry technology: bringing fresh ideas and perspectives to the table.
  • Partner-centric Philosophy—They’re dedicated to their customers’ success, just like Sparkfly. We both view partnerships as an investment that relies upon cohesive goals and accomplishments.
  • Open Perspective—Their team is always open to test things out and learn. They’re invested in pushing the envelope the same way we are dedicated to moving the whole industry forward.
  • Confidently Humble—Wait, what? Yes, this partner is very confident in everything they do. Their straight-forward, hold-nothing-back approach with their branding supports their belief in what they can deliver to customers, but they’re also extremely respectful. They treat us the same way we want to be treated. We want our customers, partners, our employees to have positive experiences and interactions with us. 
  • Focused & Driven—Their team is determined to redefine the digital restaurant experience. They know exactly where they want to go and realize what it’ll take to get there. Most importantly, they have the right leadership that can get them the results that they want to achieve one day (and we’ll be right there with them along the way).

So what does this all boil down to? What’s THE most essential aspect of a strong partnership?

It’s compatibility – “the natural ability to live or work together in harmony because of well-matched characteristics,” according to Dictionary.com. We realized that their team shares the same core values as we do, which builds mutual trust much faster than with a partner who has a separate agenda.

Sparkfly and our new partner trust each other and feel well-matched in values and philosophy. Each brings complementary skill sets to the table for the increased benefit of customers, especially if they’re looking for multifaceted solutions and don’t want the hassle of managing competing relationships.

Compatibility might seem like an obvious trait to look for in this situation but so many businesses fall short when it comes to creating a long and fruitful partnership. When you, your team, and your brand don’t align with those you work with, the dominos collapse and cause a chain reaction of roadblocks that will deter everything you set out to do.

Sharing values and being compatible is what makes relationships work, including the ones you have with your customers. According to a recent consumer culture report, “…83% of Millennials find it important for the companies they buy from to align with their values.”

People naturally gravitate towards other people (and brands) who are like themselves. It’s why dating apps are successful, why religions have so many followers, and why the right blood match can save lives (ok, the last example is dramatic but also technically true). Compatibility connects the dots for people when they come together. Without it, things slowly become difficult.

The next time you’re in partnership discussions, take a good look in the mirror. Think of everything that you, your team, and your brand are all about, and pay close attention to those on the other side of the table (or screen). Do you see or hear anything that resembles your core values? Is this relationship truly going to be a “two-way street” or will it be “all take and no give?”

If you have any inkling that it’s the latter of the two, get out of the relationship while you still can!

Be sure to revisit our blog as we reveal the identity of this partner and many others in our Industry Innovator series.


 

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