My Business Is Evolving – Why Aren’t My Partners Keeping Up?

This year, businesses in nearly every industry have had to evolve in one way or another. For some, the COVID-19 pandemic and various degrees of lockdown have forced them to pivot and find new ways of reaching customers to stay afloat. For others, the pandemic has revealed an unforeseen demand for their services and they are busier than ever. Either way, change has been one of the only constants in the business world – and our world in general – this year.  

Change can be exciting, and once you get the internal wrinkles figured out, it seems like the tough part is over. But, the reality is, businesses in a rapid state of change are inherently dependent on others to be successful. Think employees, outside contractors, even government entities that provide the resources – many of them human – to scale and keep pace. 

As an evolving business, you probably don’t have all of the expertise you need already in-house. So, working with business partners, contractors, and others to round-out your capabilities is a simple, scalable, practical solution. This also provides you more capacity to stay laser-focused on the aspects of your business that may need the most attention or have the most impact on the bottom line.

One would assume that your company’s shift is good news for these business partners, too. But, they may not actually be prepared to keep pace. Perhaps your rapidly changing company is just a small piece of your partner’s overall business portfolio. Maybe they’re not resourced to meet your evolving needs while continuing to serve their other clients. Or, perhaps they need to scale up themselves to keep up with the increased demands your business is putting on them, which takes time. 

The point is – the impact of your organization’s evolution reaches well beyond your business alone. So, how do you ensure your partners have the ability to keep up? Here are three critical things you can do to be sure you and your partners are truly ready to successfully navigate major change:   

  1. Recognize the Importance of Your Partnerships – While frustration may be your first impulse, it won’t rally those around you to stick by your side during intense and tumultuous periods of change. It’s important to recognize the value, wealth of expertise, and increased skill sets and capabilities your partners bring to your business. They likely have invested years in getting to know you, your company, and its industry – an advantage that would take an incredible amount of time to replicate with new partners.   

  2. Invest In Them – Just as you’ve likely invested time and resources internally to support your business through change, you need to invest time in your outside resources as well. Take the time to keep your partners up-to-speed on the changes taking place, your evolving needs, and how they can best support you in this new phase. Have open, honest, and frequent two-way conversations, and be sure to give them opportunities to voice the concerns and challenges they may be having. 

  3. Give Them Time to Adjust – Realize that your partners are doing their best to react and adjust to your business’ new reality. Give them time to make the necessary changes and help them anticipate what may be coming both short- and long-term that could further impact them. 

Finally, remember that you have these partnerships for a reason – they bring an asset to the table that you do not have on your own. Give your outside partners and supporters the respect they deserve, the information to meet your changing needs, and time to make the appropriate accommodations. When you do, they will not only evolve alongside you to better support your business through this time of change, it’s more likely they’ll be by your side for the long term.