Some words change meaning depending on the kind of business you’re in. In the software business, development is software engineering. In the nonprofit world, it’s fundraising. In real estate…well, it’s something else.
Then there’s “business development.” New business generation. Closing partnership deals. This is the kind of development that’s about adding value to your business through partnering.
“Partner” is a word thrown around too loosely, if you ask me. You attend a conference, or trade show, or dinner. You get to talking with someone, and you both conclude your companies or organizations should partner. There’s “synergy”; the two of you together is greater than the sum of the parts. Now what?
Unless each partner adds real value to the other, then exactly nothing will happen. Or worse, you’ll chase each other’s tails until the partnership idea peters out gradually, or your dreams implode because frustrations get too high.
True value. From both sides, to both sides. That’s what makes a real partnership. Only spend your time building strong, productive, long-term partnerships. Make those cordial and well-meaning handshakes pay off for your company or organization. Or chalk up the fun to making friends, something great, but different than partnership.