By Lamin Turay
It's been commonly stated in business, and in life that, "It's not what you know, but who you know." This sentiment has held true for millions of people as they navigate the path to success. Whether it's acquiring a promotion within your company, getting a table at the hottest new restaurant in town, or negotiating a contract for a new home, having the right relationship can be all the difference.
This concept is also very true when you consider the relationship that your business or businesses have. A company is a living breathing entity, and as such, it maintains relationships just as we do. Sometimes the relationships that your company has can make or break the business itself. In order to create, maintain or strengthen those relationships it falls on the entire staff to understand that your company needs "Company Friends."
Company Friends exist as other business, companies, or organizations that your company can rely on when in need. They are entities that your company can partner with to execute an event, lean on to fill gaps in skill, or reach out to when seeking referral business. They essentially help you continue to grow your enterprise by allowing levels of access that you would not have had without having a relationship with them. A perfect example of this is the relationship that a beverage company like Anheuser-Busch has with The NFL. Last year Anheuser-Busch negotiated with the NFL to be their official beer beverage sponsor through 2022. That allows them advertising and distribution rights of their product across multiple venues country-wide for the next 6 years. Millions of people will be exposed to Budweiser and Bud Light, while the NFL has a credible beverage partner with powerful marketing prowess. This is all possible because these two businesses are Company Friends.
When you think about the types of friends you want in your personal life, what do you think of? Honesty? Loyalty? Dependability? Transparency? All of these attributes translate into what you should seek in a Company Friend. Look for organization that you can rely on in a pinch. You should also seek out organizations that you can be of value to. You'd never want to be in a one-sided friendship in your personal life, so don't allow that with your Company Friendships either. A great example of this is the relationship that Riot Games has with the video game streaming service Twitch. Riot Games has partnered with Twitch to allow them exclusive streaming rights to their World Championship event. Riot gets to leverage Twitch's incredibly streaming platform, while Twitch get access to one of the most popular events in its industry.
As a business leader, it should be part of your day or week to take out time, and identify other businesses that it makes sense for you to have a relationship with. Contact them and open the conversation. Analyze the techniques that can be leveraged to create a mutually beneficial relationship, then proceed forward. If you've done your homework, and connected with the right organizations, you may be surprised to find out that they've been waiting to hear from a company like yours.
In closing, it all comes down to treating your company as a living entity. The company has a need to maintain relationships just as we individuals do. When you begin to think about the company as something that relies on relationships, you will adjust your mindset to a place where you can target what organizations would make the best Company Friends for your business. Good luck with your existing and eventual Company Friendships!