Finding good partners to support your business can often feel like a guessing game. Whether it’s an accounting firm to help manage the financial aspects of the business or a marketing agency to build out a new website, creating a successful business partnership isn’t easy.

As someone who has lived on both side of the table, I’ve seen many partnerships succeed and fail. So, how do we ensure the partnerships we create turn out to be successful?

I believe it starts with minding our “P”s…

The 3 P’s of Successful Business Partnerships

Based on my experience, here are three universal keys to successful business partnerships:

  1. People. Making sure the people on each side of the partnership can work well together is essential. On a macro-level, it’s important to make sure there is a positive cultural fit between the people involved in a project. On a micro-level, it’s important to actually like the person you’re working with. While there might be disagreements and personality differences, you’re going to have to work with these people at the end of the day.
  2. Process. When it comes to choosing a partner, most people consider high-level factors like price or their portfolio of work. However, taking the time to dig deeper can be invaluable. What is their process for working on obstacles and challenges? Do you approach problem-solving collaboratively? Do you get information and deliverables when you need them? Most of the friction that’s created in partnerships starts because of dysfunctional processes.
  3. Proactive Communication. We all know what it’s like to feel like a partner is dragging their feet or isn’t being upfront about a specific mistake. Successful business relationships are built on open, proactive communication. Neither party is left guessing about where the other party stands. There’s a difference between “proactive” communication and “reactive” communication.