Business in the past six months has been anything but normal. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, businesses have had to think fast, and in some cases, change the way they do business altogether. From having teams working remotely to offering new products, services and delivery methods, businesses that survived (and even thrived) had to adjust.
Some business owners established new partnerships during the crisis – sometimes with completely different vendors or industries, and often with outstanding results. Now other businesses are seeking to build partnerships in order to continue their growth or stay afloat.
Just as before the crisis, finding the right business partner can mean the difference between short-term failure and long-term success. And as it turns out, some of the key qualities you need in a business partner are the same ones you needed to survive the coronavirus crisis.
Here are four things that are essential in the best businesses and business partnerships:
Restaurants and bars that couldn’t offer indoor, sit-down service because of social distancing regulations found ways to offer delivery, takeaway and even “make-it-at-home” kits with ingredients and recipes for customers. Small retail shops began to offer FaceTime consultations and delivery or curbside pickup. Fitness instructors began offering online classes.In short, the businesses that were most successful during COVID had creative people on board who were willing to ask, “What COULD we do?” Creativity leads to innovation and this is an essential trait to look for when choosing a partner. A creative partner will help your company survive the tough times and thrive in good ones.
Being an entrepreneur is tough in the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. Businesses that were willing to face the COVID challenge head-on and grow from it have done well. By the same token, resiliency is an essential quality for every business partner. Having a partner who won’t quit on you when the going gets tough is critical.
- Ongoing, honest communication
During the initial phases of the COVID crisis, businesses were forced to communicate differently with their staff and clients. The businesses that did best were those that did a good job of explaining how (or if) they were operating, describing what changes they were making for customer and staff safety and listening to customers’ needs and concerns.
A business partnership should be the same. As with other long-term relationships, you won’t always agree, but you have to be willing to sit down (even if it’s on Zoom) and talk things over. This can be difficult, because conversations about how to run the business or where money should go can get pretty heated. Prepare to communicate honestly, openly and regularly about how things are going.
- Clear expectations about finances
The number one reason most businesses fail is that they don’t have enough cash to pay the bills – and this was the biggest concern for many businesses at the start of the crisis. Businesses that had low debt, cash in the bank and clear financial plans were able to hang on and ride out the initial COVID crunch.Your costs will vary greatly depending on whether you’re already up and running or not, but you and a prospective partner need to discuss how much financial risk you both can tolerate and if additional money will need to come from loans, venture capitalists, etc.The best thing you and any potential partner can do before signing any agreement is to meet with a financial professional (again, on Zoom if needed!) and put together a plan of action.
If you’re looking to create a business partnership and need help with your financial plans, contact the experts at Accru today.