Spark Roundtable - How to Structure Strategic Partnerships

You're a small design firm and you know you do one thing really well--design. But what about programming, copywriting, brand strategy, and printing? How do you find and maintain these crucial relationships that have the potential to bolster your business? Sheri L. Koetting, Co-Founder and Chief Strategist at MSLK, Deroy Peraza, Founding Partner and Creative Director at Hyperakt, and Agnieszka Gasparska, founder of Kiss Me I'm Polish, shared their experiences with Spark attendees this past week:

1. The best way to find new strategic partners is to meet them in person. Ask for a referral for a printer or go to a hackathon to find a new programmer.

2. Bigger isn't necessarily better. Deroy has found it's usually easier and more efficient to work with a really talented freelancer than a big development team.

3. Be transparent. Don't hide your strategic partnership from your clients. It may even be beneficial to insist your strategic partners have their own contract with the client.

4. Make the partnership mutually beneficial. Reach out to new clients with your strategic partners. MSLK writes articles and takes part in speaking engagements with their partners. Hyperakt has monthly lunch talks.

Ultimately, your success with strategic partners is a matter of fit. Finding a partner that successfully integrates into your team can be a challenge but can, ultimately, add incredible value to your business and to your clients.