Even the Lone Ranger Had a Sidekick

Jan 22, 2013

As a business owner, you have a big job on your hands – but that doesn’t mean you have to shoulder it alone. Accepting help is not synonymous with accepting defeat; far from it, in fact. After all, Batman had Robin, the Boy Wonder; Sherlock Holmes had Dr. Watson, and the Lone Ranger had Tonto.

It can often be very beneficial to brainstorm and collaborate with others to develop the most powerful solutions. There is strength in collective wisdom and in harnessing the insights and experiences of others, whether you’re doing it via a formal partnership or through a coaching mentorship.

Leverage through a Business Partnership
Developing partnerships within business can be extremely beneficial in allowing your company to succeed and grow. Take caution to retain some autonomy as a brand so you’re not overwhelmed by the partnership, but don’t shy away from the opportunity to engage in such relationships.

Strategic partnerships create leverage.  They provide an opportunity to adopt strategies that have been successful for others. Why spend valuable time in unnecessary cycles to find a strategy that will work for your business when another has already found the key? Adopting partnerships – and the strategies of other businesses – can accelerate your results, thus helping your business expand much faster.

To retain autonomy, though, be sure to always exercise your judgment and consider your specific circumstances to determine whether a certain course of action will actually be helpful in your effort to gain leverage. It may be most beneficial to adopt the successful strategy of a partner, examine the framework making it successful, and then adapt it to fit your own needs. Just because something worked perfectly for one business doesn’t mean it will have the exact same results for yours, but adopting and adjusting strategies that worked for others provides a solid starting place from which to expand.

A Mutually Beneficial Relationship
A partnership, by definition, suggests a two-way, mutualistic relationship. One business may adopt the successful strategies of another in regard to one aspect of the company. However, the second business may be lacking in a different area that the first has running without a hitch. This leaves the second business needing to adopt that technique as well.

These kinds of relationships enable great mentorships. They become give-and-take, learning relationships for both the client and the coach. A good coach listens and learns from what the client shares; he doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. The most benefit comes from a situation in which the two parties work through an issue together.

Ask questions like, “What ideas do you have?” or “Have you ever experienced something like this before? How did you handle it?” The answers shed light on the situation – and on your partner’s mindset.

This sort of two-way partnership between mentor and mentee can, ultimately, create a much stronger relationship. The honesty and humanity offered by each partner, as peers, yield a deeper rapport and more respect between the two parties.

Seek an Experienced Sidekick
In creating partnerships, be sure to seek insights from those who are more experienced. The Millennial Generation is known for its collaborative style; Millennials tend to be very broad-minded, inquisitive, and open to new insights—that is, there are natural synergies for partnership within the Millennial Generation. But it can be easy to fall victim to the idea that you have all the answers. 

A partnership with an experienced sidekick can provide your company a refreshing way to examine how things are working. Collaboration with others who may have found success, and learning from some of their techniques, can result in solutions that help your company expand beyond the power of your and your employees’ insights and experiences alone.

Not every business owner is comfortable seeking the advice and expertise of another entrepreneur or leader. However, finding out what another company or coach knows can make the difference between a stalled company and a thriving one. If the Lone Ranger could admit it was time to seek a partner, it might be time for you to do so, too.

This article appears courtesy of SCORE , Mentors to America’s Small Business. Get free advice from more than 12,000 volunteer business mentors in over 340 chapters across the nation at www.score.org. A highly sought-after consultant, mentor, speaker, producer, coach and author, Kelli Richards is the CEO of The All Access Group. She and her team facilitate strategic business opportunities in digital distribution between technology companies, established artists and celebrities, film studios, record labels, and consumer brand companies in order to foster new revenue streams and deliver compelling consumer experiences.


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