Contact your list of potential partners. Ask to set up a meeting with them. Tell them what you are hoping to accomplish. I encourage my clients to be as straightforward as possible. Remember: How you act in the initial meeting will form the mental map your partner will carry for some time to come. Tell the potential partners what you need. Explain how you think you can work together to fill that need. Ask them about their needs and discuss whether you are in a position to satisfy them. It could be as basic as: “I’m a manufacturer and need a product to sell; you have a retail business and want products that will draw customers.” It’s not complicated. Getting down to basics helps identify the core needs of each partner and clearly shows how the strategy of partnering can help both parties achieve their goals.
After you’ve interviewed all your potential partners, complete the Partner Compatibility Analysis. What does it tell you? Is there one potential partner who meets more of your requirements than others? Are there no potential partners? Do you need to go out and look for others to interview? Continue to contact and review potential partners until you’ve found one who meets all your criteria. Once you have identified it, you need to ask whether it views the partnership as a mutually beneficial idea.