Many businesses depend upon the services of a third party business partner to succeed and grow. This could include vendors, suppliers, other businesses, the government and consultants. However, the age-old question is this: How can you get the most out of that business relationship?
When partnering with a third party organization, you need a level of commitment from everyone in your organization AND everyone in the other party’s group. This means keeping the lines of communication open (especially with all decision makers), planning carefully and meeting expectations.
If you want your outside business relationships to run smoothly, you need to work out the details before entering into the business relationship. Here are 8 things to do before entering into a third party business relationship from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Alabama:
1. Get It On Paper And Signed — Detail and outline all agreed upon services, procedures, parameters, marketing commitments and deadlines. Make sure it’s official, approved by both parties and also on paper with the necessary signatures.
2. Perform A Background Check — It’s a typical business practice to ask for references when considering a business partner. Check their website for testimonials and follow up with anyone listed there. Using Google, high-profile business professionals should not be hard to find.
3. Work Out Expense Details — Who pays for what expenses? Expenses can include transportation and shipping fees. If you hire a consultant, will she want you to compensate her for travel time and lodging? Find out before you sign an agreement.
4. Check Scheduling — Ensure that the outside vendor can meet your schedule and deadlines.
5. Interview The Vendor — Talk directly with a representative of the third party. If possible, try to speak with the business leader or CEO.
6. Keep It Confidential — Since your third party isn’t directly employed, he is free to work with your competition unless it’s otherwise agreed upon. Even if it is, you should ensure that all third parties sign confidentiality agreements.
7. Detail Your Expectations — Make sure you and the outside party’s decision maker understand exactly what is expected and when. The best way to meet expectations is to understand them AND put them in writing.
8. Employee Commitment — Make sure your employees are aware of your relationship with the third party. They also need to know what they need to do to ensure your commitment.
Remember…working with a third party can increase your efficiency, profits and customer satisfaction. After finding a third party that can do this for your business, make sure you take the time at the beginning of the process to ensure a smooth business relationship. And it’s always recommended that you confirm each party’s commitments and deliverables in writing.
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