The most common mistake that we see when on-boarding a new client is that once they've committed to Marketing Partnerships & Business Development as a growth strategy for their business (whether a large business or startup), that they approach it solely with their needs in mind. Many business owners and managers in larger companies like the idea of collaborating with others to drive value for customers, yet when it comes time to present the vision for partnership to prospective partners they often don't have enough of a compelling value proposition for them. This typically occurs because they don't spend enough time thinking about other businesses and how they can help them. It's what I like to refer to as the "What am I going to get out of this?" syndrome. I can pretty much guarantee you that if you approach partnering with a mentality of how your business will benefit from the partnership that you are destined to fail at this. Here's what you should be asking yourself before you even think about talking to someone about a Partnership Marketing opportunity: \tWhat are my brand/business values and how can they support and supplement other brands/businesses? \tWhat is unique about my product offering and what kinds of products and services do they align well to? \tDo I have enough margin to financially reward partners for sending me new potential customers and is the financial incentive that I am offering compelling? \tCan we build content about our industry that will benefit partners and their customers? \tDo we have marketing communications channels that we are willing to make available to partners to offer their products to our customers and what is it that our customers might need or want? As you and your colleagues look to find answers to these questions it's important to remember that you may fall short on some if not all of them. That's a good thing because it will force you to think about your business in a different way and will hopefully ignite a brainstorm on how you can adapt your business model, content strategy and more importantly; how your products/offers can cater to new and underserved markets. After you've thought about it enough….don't be discouraged if you don't have bulletproof answers to each of the questions listed above. I've witnessed several great Marketing Partnerships unfold around just one or two of the aforementioned elements and it's better to keep things simple at first and test the waters before you embark on anything too complex. If you are offering something compelling with high perceived value for your partner and their customers, you can't go wrong. Just be sure to make it about them and not only about you and that in itself will dramatically improve your chances of developing a successful Partnership Marketing program. About Ron Kunitzky: Ron Kunitzky (firstname.lastname@example.org) founded the Partnership Marketing & Business Development agency; Geyser Marketing Group (www.geysermarketing.com) in 2003 and is a thought leader and advisor to many of the world's top companies like Google, Rogers Publishing and Just Energy Corporation. He is also the author of "Partnership Marketing - How to grow your business & transform your brand through smart collaboration" (John Wiley & Sons).