4 Qualities of Great Business Partnerships

great business partnerships

What makes for great business partnerships? A successful partnership? Partnerships offer a wealth of opportunities for growth – when they occur between the right businesses. To succeed, partnerships require more than complementary goals and audiences; partnerships can only thrive when their partnership managers themselves get along.

Business collaborations entail a merging of and collaboration between disparate teams from the partners, a process that demands a high level of confidence in personnel.

To discover the exact characteristics that make great business partnerships succeed, we surveyed business owners and partnership professionals around how they source partners and the qualities they require for collaboration. Their responses tended to fall into the four major categories below.

1. Trust

Given the complex nature of partnerships, trust is an integral factor in the initiation and continuation of all great business partnerships. Imagine how difficult it would be to trust a company with a track record of shipping faulty products or a history of bribing partners’ employees to take up positions at their firms (as happened recently between Uber and Carnegie Mellon University). If one partner is dubious of the other throughout a project, how much will the partners be able to accomplish? Not much.

2. Compatibility when creating great business partnerships

Many business characteristics need to mesh to create true compatibility and maximize the benefits of a partnership, including:

  • Audience
  • Offerings
  • Geographic locations
  • Company cultures

These characteristics are used to not only vet appropriate partners in the initial search phase, but also to choose between final prospects.

3. Shared Vision and Clear Objectives

Common goals are important in partnerships, but at the end of the day each partner’s main objective is to improve their own business. More than shared goals, a shared vision and clearly communicated objectives are necessary to make great business partnerships succeed.

A shared vision can, for example, include improving opportunities for a certain population, supporting green living or more. We cover this topic more in depth here.

4. Transparency

Transparency is the icing on the cake when aiming to develop great business partnerships. A shared vision and clear objectives need to be carefully discussed and shaped, a process that relies on the honesty and openness of all partners involved. When businesses are upfront about their agendas from the beginning, they are also likely to communicate when issues arise down the line and thereby provide an avenue for solutions.

Professional Perspectives

Our survey respondents brought up interesting experiences and comments. In their own words:


    • Trust is key, based on high ethics from both parties.
  • Mutual trust, reliable communication and delivery, top-notch expertise, willingness to learn from each other, seeking ground for common success

    • One where we complement each other’s offerings. Of course we need to feel happy from a company cultural perspective.
  • Believes in the product as much as you do.

    • All great business partnerships are transparent about their goals and expectations. A successful partnership spells out everything so that there are no surprises or conflicts.
  • Someone who puts the team first. A successful partnership is when two companies trust each other enough to not worry if they other company will follow through on their word or not.
Shared Vision and Clear Objectives

    • People with the same goals as I have, creating a team-effort.
  • Strategic fit. Each partner has to bring something to the arrangement that the other needs. Moreover the goals and objectives must be similar.

What do you look for in a strategic partner? Let us know by tweeting to us at @Powerlinx.

Want to get to know us better? Learn more about our business matchmaking platform, where businesses find customers, suppliers, partners and even get investment, financing or credit for your company. Fast.

Featured image by Esther Simpson