Even solopreneurs can’t do it all alone— as our very own Kala wrote in a previous blog post, “one of the most important things you can hope to solidify in your business building lasting partnerships.” Of course, not every partnership is always perfect; sometimes work ethics or efforts don’t quite align and you wind up feeling exhausted instead of empowered. So how do you find that gem of a partnership, and how do you keep that gem polished and exciting?
Here’s our guide on building lasting partnerships and maintaining them so that they are not just functional, but inspiring and enduring.
1. Fantastic Partners And Where To Find Them
There are so many amazing businesses out there with goals that might align with yours, but where should you look? Aside from the obvious (Google, which might be so obvious that it’s actually not obvious), social media is a great place to find business partners! It’s actually how we find a lot of the artists that we feature in our full-sensory tastings and how Kala met Nicole Ward of Wine Expressions; Kala followed Nicole on Instagram (and you should, too!) and sent an outreach email, and the rest was history. They co-hosted an exceptional event focused on the theme of B-sides, or unexpected hits, whether it be tasty wines of lesser-known grape varieties or songs (believe it or not, “At Last” by Etta James was originally released as a B-side!).
While social networks like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are great places to start, special interest professional networks like Girlboss (focused on women redefining success) and Gust (focused on startups) are perfect for narrowing down the endless sea of possible partners. You can also communicate with professionals within your field on Slack— just Google “[Insert topic] + Slack Community” (ah, yes, the power of Google).
2. Don’t Be Afraid To Send Cold Emails!
So you’ve found your future (business) partner, but they don’t know it yet. Business partner-crushing on them from afar is a valid option, but if you want to turn that possibility into a tangible relationship, you’re going to have to make the first move. Which is to say, you should probably send them an email (or ask them out on the ferris wheel, that usually works, too). But seriously, people are nicer than you think! Send a prospective partner an outreach email outlining the remarkable things about your business and how it relates to theirs; this is exactly how Kala started working with V Wine Room when she first moved to LA. To date, we’ve hosted about ten events in partnership with V Wine Room, and they now sell the chocolate of one of our regular chocolate partners, Savage Los Angeles! Especially if your brands and business goals align, the person you’re emailing would likely welcome the possibility of working with you. Think about it: they’re business owners, just like you! Everybody’s looking for love— I mean, a mutually beneficial business partnership between two people who want to further the development of their respective companies. Same difference.
3. Get Down To Business, About Your Business
In any successful team, communication is key. Set up a time to meet with your prospective partner; try to seek shared values and develop a shared vision for your businesses. How might your businesses assist one another? Where might they clash? Honesty is key here— once you determine your individual strengths and weaknesses, you can come together and play to both of your strengths. Come up with a game plan: what are the tangible next steps you both need to take to accomplish your shared goals?
Kala and Prairie are in constant correspondence about their shared goals for the Song & Tonic program, how they’re planning on working together, and how they’ll give each other the space to shine during an event. Behind every one of their stunning pairings and events is the sturdy foundation of their communication. So once you and your partner both know where you’re going and figure out how to get there together, then you can start on your journey of taking the world by storm.
4. Bond Over Drinks— Or, Better Yet, A Full-Sensory Tasting
Sure, you can be boring and get coffee or drinks with your new business partner to strengthen your relationship (yawn). But why not learn more about your partner and their business on a more personal level with a curated full-sensory tasting? We’ve found that going a step further with a curated tasting of wines, cheeses, and music that are local to both of your regions and central to both of your stories actually helps solidify your partnership in a profound way. You’ll also have a chance to wind down and enjoy one another’s company outside of the workplace— you both deserve it after all your hard work together! Plus, the experience will help you form memories together and establish trust, which will make your ability to work as a team all the better (to learn more about the effects of a full-sensory experience on team-building, take a look at this blog post we wrote!).