Though the Golden Rule is a principle in my personal and business life, I don’t think it selfish to ask WIIFM when considering with whom to partner in a business endeavor. On the contrary, this prudent and profitable strategy has the potential to produce a multiplying effect in terms of creativity and problem-solving.
However, many of the people who ask to partner with me don’t really want to partner – they confuse ‘partnership’ with the word ‘sponsorship’. They say they want to partner, but what they really want is someone to provide benefits without sharing the risk.
When vetting a potential partner the question for you, the business owner, is ‘What’s in it for me? What do you bring to the table? Money? Connections? Increased visibility? Opportunities in new arenas?’
There are those people with whom I have partnered that have grown into friendships, mentors and advocates. And, there are those remarkable clients who have demonstrated terrific partnership qualities. Not only was I able to add value to them, but they opened doors for me that I could have never done for myself; whether that be referrals, introductions, connecting me to a non-profit that needed help, or simply building a long-term relationship.
When assessing a potential partner, there are many legal and business aspects to consider. WIIFM is a good starting place.