How to Move Relationships to Collaborative Partnerships






We recently explored how to foster great relationships, which is something we at CleanLink Software Ltd are very passionate about as it’s helped us become the business we are today. This month we delve a little deeper into how to work collaboratively with partners and why this is so important. Creating collaborative partnerships in business can happen by chance however sometimes they need planning and there are many benefits to working collaboratively, such as sharing resources and knowledge to help problem solving and decision making. True innovation can be fostered which helps provide a competitive advantage and for many, working in a team towards a common goal can help boost morale and job satisfaction.

The most significant benefit we’ve experienced is clarification of business ideas and ensuring we are better aligned with industry needs. We constantly look to develope our products however we’re not a cleaning company, it’s our clients that are the experts in running their businesses and what’s needed to simplify their processes. Conversations with partners often cement thoughts and ideas we’ve had, as demonstrated last year when KGB Southwest, a long-term client, helped us to understand that annualised payroll was an increasing part of their process and the current payroll solution could be improved for easier implementation. Working in collaboration with KGB we delivered an effective solution. A year later we’ve realised that annualised pay was becoming more common across the industry, and it has been great to say to other clients ‘we have the solution’.

To help build successful collaborative relationships, here are some simple things to consider:

Identify the right partners: Some businesses may only ever be great clients and that’s fine. Identify partners that will help grow your business, that you can support with the right solutions and ultimately benefit the industry as a whole. Compatibility may be based on cultural similarities, values, work ethics and business practices.

Build strong communication channels: We can’t emphasis this enough. Being honest and transparent builds trust and respect. It allows the needs of both parties to be understood and ensures goals are delivered against. As a small business we find over the long-term, there is consistency in the contact between clients and our support team and this naturally enhances conversations and provides great insights, therefore, nurturing long-term relationships by retaining staff can be very powerful. We ensure our team actively listen and are curious about our clients’ challenges rather than just simply empathising.

Leverage strengths of both parties: Identifying and utilising the unique strengths of individual parties ensures collaboration is maximised. One of the challenges we sometimes face is supporting requests from partners which provides them with much needed solutions but does not support our core competencies. To alleviate this, we work hard to create collaboratively relationships with other suppliers (who are often competitors), this can be a brave decision however we know leveraging resources, expertise and knowledge not only benefits the businesses involved but the industry.

Be willing to compromise: This is important for both parties to recognise. Understanding what is feasible and what’s not and respecting this help partnerships to develop smoothly. We have found this becomes easier overtime as both parties get to know each other better and build trust. If some things aren’t possible or ideas have to be adapted parties know it’s for the right reasons: in our case we like to develop innovation that will ultimately benefit all our clients, maximising our expertise and not get side tracked from what we are good at.

By leveraging the collective strengths and capabilities of team members, collaboration leads to superior outcomes, a supportive work culture, and the continuous advancement of knowledge and skills. It’s how both businesses and industries develop and grow and become resilient over the long term.

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