Cultivating strong partnerships with the right people and businesses can be invaluable in growing your business. Look for individuals in your field that provide complimentary services, but have a different spin or specialty. Attorneys refer attorneys, electricians refer plumbers, realtors refer mortgage brokers. Also look for those who share your target customer, those who buy high end cars, also buy jewelry, use decorators, buy good wine. Those who are health conscience, hire personal trainers, use chiropractors, and get massages. Be creative. Once you identify potential strategic partners, here are some ways to accelerate the relationship: Nurture the relationship. Get to know the business, the key players, their work and their reputation before you build an alignment. Their work will reflect on your reputation. Align on values. Make sure you talk about values with potential partners. Learn how they deal with difficult customers, difficult circumstances and their approach to customer service. Ask their customers about their reputation. Educate Yourself. Don’t be shy about getting to know the product or services that they offer. Learn who they want as clients, how they do business, and what they excel at. This will help you better understand who are good clients for them and what they can offer them. Get firsthand experience. If it makes sense, hire them, understand the client experience by being a client. This allows you to speak genuinely about them and your personal experience. This makes you even more credible as a referral source. Brainstorm with your partners. Engage in discussion with your partners on how you can support one another. Look for new ways to align your relationship, create a plan on promoting each other businesses. Strategic partnerships can be incredibly rewarding when they work well. Look around the table today there are those that you already partner with, and then there are those that have untapped potential. YOUR CHALLENGE: Setup some time to develop a new partnership or nurture an existing one.