Partnership: You Can't Do It Alone!

By Victoria Colligan
Founder, Ladies Who Launch

One of the most important lessons I have learned since starting Ladies Who Launch is that you can't do it alone. What I mean by this is that if your goal is growth in the traditional sense, meaning you want to be financially successful beyond your wildest dreams, then you will eventually have partners along the way. You will find that the best partners are those with whom the whole is greater than the parts: You can achieve amazing success if you simply collaborate and leverage each other's strengths. Here is who Ladies Who Launch is partnering with every day to fulfill on our mission of being the number one provider of valuable resources, community and inspiration to women launching and growing businesses:

1. Our Featured Ladies: Every week we partner with our featured ladies to provide stories and tips on how to move your business forward. We partner with them to impart their knowledge to our members and to integrate their success into ours.

2. Our Board of Directors: Our board is comprised of some of the most high-level individuals in the media world. They guide us strategically and connect us with other potential partners.

3. Our Investors: Our investors make it possible to produce an A-level product and grow our business more quickly. Because we have strategic investors with knowledge in our industry, they help us source opportunities and set priorities.

4. Our Incubator Leaders: Our leaders run our in-person programs around the country. We partner with them to provide them with programming and supplemental tools to our members and to work together to make Ladies Who Launch a success.

5. Our Competitors and Affiliates: We love our competitors and affiliates; we partner with them to expand the breadth of our product offering.

6. Our Management Team: Our management team are partners in our business. They are not just equity stakeholders but they provide strategic vision and cross-checks on each other to assure that we are in alignment and moving forward in the same direction.

7. Our Members: Our members are probably our most important partners because without them, we would not exist. Every day we source opportunities, resources and success stories to fuel and inspire our members and to make launching a business or any project accessible to all.

Every business constituent is a type of partner and the most successful businesses take this point of view and act accordingly. Below are my top 5 tips for forming successful partnerships to enhance and grow your business.

Agree on the vision and mission: You should always be able to verbalize your mission statement and "elevator" pitch in almost identical terms. Not being able to do this or even having slight variations in the way you describe what your company does are signs that you may not be on the same page as your partner and you may want to reevaluate.

Get advice from experts: Surround yourself with experts in key areas (like marketing, finance, legal, technology). Consider sourcing and finding a strategic Board of Directors or Board of Advisors to guide you. Rely on your Board for their expertise and to help you make the right choices in your partnerships. Choosing the right Board allows you to grow your business faster and with fewer mistakes along the way.

Set goals, measure them regularly: Set specific monthly goals with specific tactics to reach those goals on a monthly basis. If you don't have a full business plan, at least have a document outlining your strategy for growth and make sure you are in full agreement with your partner(s) on this.

Supplement your weak areas: Surround yourself with those who have complementary skills. Network, Network, Network to find them. If you truly want to grow your business, you can't do it alone. Find what you are good at and what you enjoy doing and partner with those that can fill in the gaps.

Know that things change – even partners: Identify the needs of your company and evaluate partnerships accordingly. As your company grows, your management structure will grow and change. Be open to forming different partnerships at different times. What might have worked during start-up may not work during growth. Embrace the shift as a sign of growth and celebrate along the way. Be passionate and have fun!

Ladies Who Launch