How to Work with Multiple Partners that Are Competitors

One of the smartest things that a small business can do is establish a strategic partnership with another like-minded company. When working alongside partners that directly compete with each other, how can a small business keep the peace and ensure smooth sailings? To answer this question, it’s important to go back to the root of the relationship itself and think about what’s best for business.

3 Ways to Work with Partners that are Competitors

Develop Automation Systems

This should be your first priority when working with multiple partners. By developing successful automation systems, you will be able to ensure that all content is traced back to where it came from and identified properly. This helps you avoid accidentally mixing up valuable information that could belong to a different, competing partner.

Additionally, the transfer of information should be easy. When developing these systems, keep in mind that everything should flow from the partner database into your database without having to key in the data on each side.

Maintain Confidentiality

How will your business guard the information it collects, uses and stores from its partners and, moreover, consumers? The best way to maintain confidentiality is to create a privacy page for your website that presents an outline of what visitors can expect from the companies involved with your business. Here are a few topics you might want to cover:

  • The specific type of information your business collects, why you’re collecting it and how collecting it allows your business the ability to create a personalized experience.
  • How that information is protected in the event of a data breach. You’ll need to determine what security measures will be implemented and how sensitive information will remain confidential.
  • Whether or not your website uses cookies and why.
  • Whether or not your business shares personal information with outside parties. If you do share this kind of information, you need to explain the parties it is shared with and the terms.

Treat Others’ Customers as You Would Want Your Own to Be Treated

Remember that many of these customers are not ones that already exist as loyal fans to your business. They’re coming over by way of your partners and should be treated to a positive customer experience. Encourage your team to assist everyone with a positive, can-do attitude.

Above all, keep everyone on the same page. Encourage working together for the greater good of the business and keep internal disagreements at bay. Listen to customers as much as you listen to one another, too. You can identify future partnerships just by listening to customers and their needs. If customers have a need for something that your business doesn’t provide and you know a company that does offer that type of service, you could be looking at (another!) mutually beneficial partnership that works for all parties.


Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.

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