Forming strategic partnerships can be very lucrative for all involved, as long as everything is handled well. It’s essential that both parties set clear expectations and protect their own interests without being selfish.

If you’re thinking about forming a strategic partnership with another business, here are five things you should know.

Create Value for Potential Partners

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There should be value in your relationship, beyond increased revenue for both of you. If you’re attempting to partner with a potential distributor, consider your unique selling proposition – why should the business partner with you rather than your competition?

Think of the ways you can add value to a partnership when approaching a potential partner. According to, any LED lighting distributor who partners with them receives exclusive pricing and freight allowances, specialized training to pass along to their customers, and more. In this example, there are added incentives to become an LED dealer and form a strategic partnership. What can you offer a potential partner to help them make sales, and what can they offer you?

Don’t Stop at “No”

When approaching potential partners, let go of the black and white notion of yes or no. When a potential partner says yes, they are interested, that’s great. When a prospective partner says no, don’t think of it as an absolute. Instead, build a conversation around it and find out the reasoning behind the answer.

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If the answer is no, it could mean “not right now” or “that pricing isn’t right” or any number of things. Collecting feedback about this response will help you re-evaluate your strategy for other potential partners and figure out when to try again in the future.

Communication and Transparency Are Essential

Communication is the foundation of any great relationship, even a strategic business partnership. The importance of being honest and transparent during negotiations and beyond cannot be understated. Taking time to highlight concerns, asking questions, and being proactive about potential barriers will ensure a strong relationship over time.

Of course, communication is a two-way street. To continue the example above, if an LED distributor is having trouble pushing the pricing, talking to their supplier about the issue will help both partners outline potential solutions. On the other hand, the supplier should take a proactive approach to procure feedback about the product’s performance.

Being straightforward and managing expectations is essential for a long-lasting strategic partnership.

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Deliver on Your Promises

Regardless of the nature of your partnership, both parties must deliver on what’s promised. If one business promises to provide high-quality images to a dropshipping partner, ensuring those are kept up-to-date and delivered promptly is critical. If a dropshipper promises to list the product and not promote any competing items, that’s what they should do.

Delivering on your promises not only helps you with your current strategic partnerships but also with your future arrangements. In the business world, failing to deliver can get you blacklisted. If you’re concerned about failing, under-promise, and over-deliver.

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Make it Easy to Say Yes

When reaching out to create a strategic partnership, you’re essentially engaging in B2B marketing. Think of your potential partner as a customer: how can you showcase what you’re offering in the best possible light? How can you make it easy for them to say yes to your proposal?

While boundaries are essential in a business relationship, give a potential partner what they need to research your offerings and make an informed decision. Provide samples, intriguing statistics, case studies, and visually stimulating information about your brand. You’ll also want to showcase what you know about their business and how you can help them succeed.

Strategic partnerships can help multiple businesses achieve success together. To make it work, you need to dedicate resources to research and outreach, then take action to prove what you promised.