Posts Tagged ‘Business Partnerships’

You need a community or several

August 15th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn

Business owners need a place to cuss and discuss those items related to their daily or strategic business problems. That place is a ‘community’, whether it’s virtual or with a coffee/lunch group. A great example of ‘community’ is your local Chamber of Commerce.

Communities as described in Wikipedia:

FCChamberLogoA community is a social unit of any size that shares common values. In human communities, a number of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness. The word "community" is derived from the Old French comuneté or Latin communitas , a broad term for fellowship or organized society.[1] One broad definition which incorporates all the different forms of community is "a group or network of persons who are connected (objectively) to each other by relatively durable social relations and who mutually define that relationship (subjectively) as important to their social identity and social practice."[2]

BACoC-logoYour local Chamber of Commerce is a ‘community’. The geographical reach of a Chamber is defined by roads or highways or geography like rivers or mountains. You will find members of a Chamber that live in the immediate area and those that live at a distance with a connection to the area. Companies and organizations may have buildings or mobile workers. With the advent of internet technology the range of industries and job functions in the community is unlimited. One of the ways to connect or meet these folks is through the local Chamber.

The initial connections for me are those Chambers that remind me of small towns I lived in growing up and the larger Chambers are for the larger cities where I’ve worked. Community physical size is not the priority -- personal connections that build a ‘community’ are the pull!

Introductions during Chamber events have helped my business processes and growth. I know that because of the ‘community connection’ I could call or email those new acquaintances and have a discussion in confidence or for mutual benefit. After a couple of my speaking engagements, I have gotten calls from attendees with questions that would not have been asked in open forum and I was able to help with references or possible solutions.

There was a recent gathering of 6 area Chambers and it was a busy, loud event for several hours. The buzz of conversation with existing and new connections was energizing. The diversity of businesses and business owners/representatives was amazing – I learned so much! The pile of new business cards, names and businesses is still buzzing in my mind. I hope we’ll be able to re-connect and continue the conversations.

IF you are not inclined to join a Chamber of Commerce, you need to build a ‘community’ of your own – whether that is within your industry or geographical area, a business owner needs to be able to discuss and cuss with ‘like-minded’ people. You could get recommendations from your attorney, banker, CPA or insurance agent, vendors, sales reps or even Customers. For example, I am affiliated with Assoc. of Contingency Planners and Project Management International; they have monthly meetings, newsletters, free webinars that provide information and opportunities to converse with ‘like-minded’ people.

Business Continuity Partners of the West is focused on serving small and medium businesses because they are what make our towns and cities unique, colorful, and prosperous in more ways than money. We encourage those businesses to put some time into maintaining those elements of their business that might fail if not protected through good business continuity actions.

Are you prepared?

Partnerships

April 29th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn

All organizations have both internal and external partnerships – most are not well defined and due to lack formalization, can cause problems. Don’t assume that because you have conversation or communication with another group that they are your ‘partner.’

  • An internal partner might be a department you receive products from or the one you deliver products to.
  • An external partner could be a vendor, customer, next door neighbor or even a friendly competitor.
  • I always recommend you build your relationship with your attorney, banker, CPA and insurance agent into partnerships.
  • Of course, you will have those people who are a sounding board or wise counsel.

The word ‘partner’ is either a noun or a verb, per Merriam Webster.

  • As a noun: one of two or more people, businesses, etc., that work together or do business together; someone who participates in an activity or game with another person.
  • As a verb: to join or associate with another as partner
  • Noun variation: The American Western variation of the noun is spoken as ‘pardner’.

When you build a relationship into a partnership, it has to be two-sided in dialog, action, respect and benefit – just like a personal relationship/partnership. Don’t assume that because you have conversation or communication with another group that they are your partner. (Yep, I said it before).

Let’s run through an internal partnership example:

  • Do you know the requirements, timelines and supplies for the product you are building?
  • Where or who do you get those from?
  • Do you know the names of the managers or team leaders from those areas?
  • Do you speak with them often, not just when they throw something over the wall?
  • Have you invited them to see your process and team?
  • Have you both shared your concerns about requirements, timelines or supplies?

When you have open communication with your ‘input’ team you are showing respect for their job and pressures; by showing them your process area they will gain insight into your job and pressures. When you are both communicating and understanding your mutual areas, the products will be done better in quality, faster in production and to the satisfaction of the requirements owner.

When you share information with the receiving organization or the ‘output’ team, their job will be easier as well. They will know what’s coming to them, when and in what condition. Active communication with both sides of your work area will help everyone do a better job.

For an external partner, let’s talk about your insurance agent for example:

DSC_0899EssentialPartnerships500

  • How often do you talk with your agent?
  • Do you have several agents to work with? Do they know each other?
  • Do you review your future strategies or ideas with agent?
  • Has your agent done a walk-through of your facility? Do you have any new equipment or
  • layout for review?
  • Does your agent have a current list of all your equipment (and pictures in their work location)?
  • What other information on your equipment does your agent need?
  • What other information from your company does your agent need?
  • Does the agent have education information for you or employees?
  • Who can submit claims to the agent(s) and what method?

When the agent(s) can see or hear in-depth information, they can better recommend coverage for you and your company. They may have information or posters for your employees on safety or even mini-classes that might reduce your premiums. If they don’t know much, then you can bet/guess/expect that you will be under-insured.