Have A Successful Business Partnership With Your Community

pet sitting business partnershipRecently, I found myself in a business partnership with a local referral partner I wasn’t sure if I wasted to continue to stay in.

What happened?

There are certain graces I feel should be extended from one business to another when forming a partnership. This could be in the form of a pet sitting business teaming up with a pet store, veterinarian, grooming shop, mobile groomer, or any other business partnership for that matter.

In order for it to be a mutually beneficial business partnership, there are certain traits that I feel both sides must possess. I have broken it down into the top three most important things that I personally need in a partner. What are yours?


Business all naturally have an ebb and flow to them. One month or year(s) you will be on top, and then another time you could not be on top. When you have a partner, I feel strongly that being unselfish is essential. Without it, there would be no relationship. What does this look like?

When a business might hear that someone is leaving town on a trip… they think to speak of your business. You would do that for them if you heard someone had a dirty dog, untrained dog, or needed a local resource for pet food supply, right?

Sometimes, I have found companies to be so self absorbed that they don’t ever think about how they can feed other companies. As a company grows and expands, systems needs to be in place so these principals can be replicated. For example in my own pet sitting company I train my staff on how to properly look for and give referrals in my company. As my systems grew bigger, I didn’t want to loose sight of the very thing that helped me grow… business partnership.

Being unselfish and helping to feed other businesses will only come back to you. Call it karma!


This might sound like an obvious thing, but it is something that really can show you that a referral partner has your back.

Let’s say that you were helping plan a local Yappy Hour with your referral partner and all of a sudden they decide to take the event that you were planning together and bring in a team of people and start adding things that essentially change the original idea that you both created.

You were confused by it all  so you confronted them about it. Although all they really did was give you lip service, told you it was the same…all the while you have put your name and reputation behind it? There was no attempt to fix or solve anything. Is that the type of relationship you would want to be in?

Or another example, you give a referral and that referral source (your partner) doesn’t follow through on their word. What many don’t realize is that receiving a referral means that the company now has a responsibility to the new client *AND* the person who referred them. If this business drops the ball, they essentially make the person who referred them no so great. Staying truthful can help avoid all of this. It’s about having integrity and a level of trust that you do business with.

When two parties enter in a partnership they should not only be truthful to each other but they should have the same goals and visions in mind, When it starts to jeopardize your business, or your “truth,” that is when the relationship may have run its course.

Mutually Beneficial

Each partner must mutually benefit from this relationship. I talk a lot about forming these relationships in my free ebook Barking Up The Right Tree: A Pet Sitters Guide To Networking. However, I think it is really important to realize that mutually benefiting might not always mean I send you a client and you send me a client.

Maybe you are a pet sitter who works with a veterinary clinic that doesn’t send you as many referrals as you send them, yet the veterinarian is always willing to answer questions for your blog, enforce your policies, let you know about local events that they might be attending, and news about new local pet related businesses opening up around town. This knowledge could be invaluable to a business!

However, if you have a business partner that is take, take, take, and there is nothing that you are receiving in return, is it really mutually beneficial? Again, if it is not, the relationship may have ran its course.

Final Jumps…

Airborne Ballet, Austin Rodeo

Airborne Ballet, Austin Rodeo (Photo credit: DaveWilsonPhotography)

It is natural in life that relationships come and go throughout life. Businesses grow. Directions change. People change. We have all heard about that saying, “It takes two to tango.” Well when one stops dancing, it is simply time to find another business partner to team up with. It doesn’t mean that you have to get discouraged and say I am never referring anyone again. Nor does it mean that everyone won’t work out. After all, if you stopped dating after one bad date, you would never have met your mate, right?

As in any business partnership, the feelings of dissolution might be tough to manage depending on how strong the partnership was. It is essentially grieving a relationship out of your life. Although business isn’t supposed to get emotional, and many of you have heard me say.. look at the facts  – it still might hurt. I encourage you all to take inventory of what you are doing for others and if they are doing it for you. Are they being trustworthy? Can you trust them in the trenches?

I have had business partnerships in the past where I have had to remind them when to talk about my company. I have had to cue them to mention my name and show them how to refer to me. Teaching in the beginning is acceptable and expected. Some people are naturally gifted with this talent, and others are not.  However, after you have ridden this rodeo a few times, it is perfectly acceptable to expect that at some point they learned how to ride!

Your Turn:

You have a powerful voice. What will your voice say about you, your community, and future business partnership? Who will you be enthusiastic for? Who will you shut your mouth for? Don’t under estimate the power of partnerships and what they can bring. Who do you partner up with? What makes it successful or unsuccessful?

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