"Partnership" is such a promising idea. It suggests stability, growth, a fresh stream of revenue. But navigating a partnership can be like navigating a minefield when you're a hypergrowth entrepreneur. Plenty of businesses will want to hitch their wagon to your star, and that can be good, but many of them will end up feeling more like a millstone around your neck than a profitable opportunity.
Not that partnerships can't be great: You may already know that leveraging a partnership can cross-pollinate your respective audiences and enrich your pipeline.
But you may also know that an ill-advised partnership can be a black hole devouring time and resources.
Here are four critical factors that contribute to the your partnership's hypergrowth:
1. Define your goals.
Before you formally put a partnership in writing, write down exactly what you want out of it, whether that means revenue, an IP exchange or a joint customer list. Consider the "soft factors" as well, like culture and communication styles. If the partnership goes well, you'll probably be working together more than anticipated -- and it's important at that point to be sympatico with each other.
2. Demand value.
Let's be blunt: Most would-be partners won't have much to offer you. Even if you're flattered by their interest, you'll need to ask what their business can specifically contribute to your and your customers' success. Ask yourself how your base will benefit from this solution. If the advantage isn't clear, walk away. Another important criteria entails assessing how well the partner business takes care of its customers. The last thing you want is for your own buyers to become angry with you because you recommended a business that let them down.
3. Provide value.
Sometimes you'll see immense potential in leveraging a certain partner channel -- in which case you'll want to look attractive to them, too. The best approach here is providing hypervalue from the beginning. Instead of emailing a potential partner out of the blue, broker an introduction that casts you in a prestigious light. Be ready with a clear demonstration of the value your business can offer the partner's buyers. And once the partnership is under way, be sure to treat that company's customers like gold -- just as you would want them to treat yours.
4. Follow through.
Whoever coined the saying "No news is good news" was not a good business partner. No news is actually terrible news; silence and indifference have no role to play in a hypervalue organization. If you want to grow through true partnership, you'll need to communicate consistently and stay on top of things. Drive the initiative forward and be the catalyst of change, rather than settling in and waiting for new leads to flow your way.
If there's one growth hack that applies across the board, it's this: Partner with the business that already has the customer you want. Focus on value, yours and theirs, and soon your customers will see greater value in you.
Copyright © 2015 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor
Photos from Pixabay and Flickr (Garfield Anderssen)