What does a partnership mean to you?

A partnership is defined as an agreement between two or more organisations, people etc, to work together. Business partnering is the development of successful, long term, strategic relationships between customers and suppliers, based on achieving best practice and sustainable competitive advantage. In practice, the business partner model can be broadened to include members of any business function, for example, finance, IT, HR, legal, external relations, who act as a connector, linking their function with business units to ensure that the technical, or functional, expertise they have to offer is placed within the real and current concerns of the business to create value. But what does this actually look like? Have the events of the last year changed what you expect or look for? Are you re-evaluating some of your existing partnership relationships because of them not supporting the business the way you thought they would during challenging times?

Business partnering increases competitive advantage. The direct benefits of business partnering consist in greater competitive advantage through cooperation and even better opportunities of revenue, occupation and investment in the sector of application.

Partnering takes a new approach to achieving business objectives. It replaces the traditional customer-supplier model with a collaborative approach to achieving a shared objective; this may to improve an existing service or launch an entirely new programme of work. Essentially, the businesses work together to achieve an agreed common aim whilst each participant may still retain different reasons for achieving that common aim. In our case the goal is to increase the sales for the resellers by proavtively offering finance solutions to their customers. By training their sales team we make it easier for them to close sales as well.

Business partners must plan and map change effectively. This means understanding the needs of change, likely outcomes, identifying quick wins to build credibility, celebrating milestones achieved, as well as measuring the potential and eventual impact of people solutions. Developing a road map that’s aligned to and has the potential to shape the overall strategy is key. Tracking transition as it progresses through agreed milestones will help ensure success.

Having been established for 20 years it is our experience that when business is flourishing there is no shortage of people that want to be by your side. However, when times are more challenging and you are looking for extra guidance, support or understanding; it is often disappointing to see how others respond. Difficult times can often mean that true colours are shown.

The last year has shown just how vital every relationship between all of the various businesses and people we work with to keep our companies functioning. The IT support business that assisted in the work from home arrangements. The cleaning company that deep clean the offices or PPE providers keeping our team safe. Robust and resilient relationships that allow us to focus on our goals safe in the knowledge that we can depend on them to support us behind the scenes.

The great news is that challenging times can highlight just how fantastic some businesses perform and rally around to help others. It brings to the forefront those that are saying loudly, “I am here to help!”. That is the key to any partnership arrangement between business. Offer the help where needed. Ask for the help when needed. Support each other and work together. Communicate clearly. Thrive together.