Small Business Partner Appreciation — Experts Weigh In

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’re at the end of our “How do you show love?” series! Today we find out how our small business experts show love to their partners. If you need to catch up on the rest of the series, you can do so here and here

1. “Listen to your partners intently to identify the wants and needs they have regarding the partnership; and then exceed them. Unlike large corporations which are driven by profit, small business owners are motivated by a full spectrum of factors such as financial, emotional, passion, etc. With that said, showing them love is often best done by identifying those factors and catering to them.” –Justin Ake, Helping Solutions, LLC

2. “My business has centered on referrals and my partnerships with agencies offering other digital marketing services, so I’ve always tried to show some love to these partners by helping them promote events, or specials they put on. I always give them high praise and references when needed, which in turn, helps them earn more business! And of course, when I’m able, I love to send them little gifts to let them know how important they are! All of this has helped me earn and keep partners from a variety of places, so I’m quite happy with my results.” –Roxanne R. Roark, R3 Social Media

3. “First of all, we have a referral program set up with all of our partners, so anyone who refers us makes a % of that sales (usually 10-20%). Secondly, we go out of our way to send pizza parties and hand-written thank you notes to our partners. My favorite thing to do, however, is to do some background research on our partner, and send them a personal gift. For example, if they’re a Denver, Broncos fan, we’ll send them a team jersey. It’s things like this that make the greatest impact!” –Kevin Brinkley, The Website Nanny

4. “The simplest way to show a partner that you love and appreciate the partnership is to listen to what they are saying. If they are criticizing something, they are perhaps unhappy about a method of doing something and have suggestions for improvements. Don’t become emotional right away, take a step back, listen to the words and read between the lines. By opening up communication and taking the time to ask questions (perhaps over a nice lunch!), this will ensure a long lasting partnership.” –JF Garrard, Dark Helix Press

5. “The Holiday season is a popular time for gifts to be exchanged between family, friends, and business partners. However we find gifts celebrating business anniversaries to be more impactful and also a nice surprise for the recipient. Gifts ranging from a bottle of wine to food baskets are sent to our partners on the anniversary of our first date of business. As everyone knows, receiving a ‘just because’ gift can brighten someone’s day and even week- and we aim to show love through recognition of our partner anniversaries.” –Bryan Koontz, Guidefitter

6. “Here’s how I show love and appreciation to my partner(s): 

1. Verbally – tell them often how much I appreciate their time, energy, and dedication. 

2. Actions – a pat on the back, a thumbs up across a room, a late night debriefing at our favorite restaurant instead of at the office. 

3. Surprises – nothing says I love having you on my team more than an unexpected gift. It can be a quick getaway, a new book, breakfast in bed or, an invitation to take a hike – at a local spot, of course. Picnic optional.” –Dora Herrera, Yuca’s Restaurants

7. “To show my husband (my greatest partner) how much I love him, I make him lunch every day and a fruit smoothie for breakfast. We speak several times a day, and with my new IPhone 7, I write small notes to him and send the kiss graphic.” –Risa Borsykowsky, Jewish Gift Place 

8. “I keep my partnerships happy and healthy by applying these simple requirements:

– Find someone who complements your skills and recognize the importance of your knowledge.
– Partnership agreements have to be clear as crystal 
– Comunication. We have to be on the same page 
– Clients First. Every decision has different priorities but always clients need to be first.” –Giuseppe Veracini, VERACOVER

9. “One of the best ways to show support and appreciation for your partners is to schedule a family friendly business retreat. There are thousands of amazing places in the world that are great for both family and business meetings. 

Planning a business retreat that lasts for a few days, followed by a weekend where everyone can relax with their family is a wonderful tactic to show appreciation while still helping to move the business forward. Be sure to let your partners know about this retreat well ahead of time so it becomes something they can plan for and look forward to.” –Evan Harris, SD Equity Partners

10. “My partner and I have been in business for 5 years. We show each other love and appreciation by encouraging each other to take trips as much as possible. We work 60+ hours in an average week, so taking breaks and refreshing is so crucial to our mental health. We encourage each other to step away from the business and cover for each other throughout the year.” –Roman Debotch, Finally Free Media

11. “One of my favorite ways to show appreciation to my partners is by writing a thank you handwritten letter. I like using a handwritten letter because it’s a genuine I care for what they do for me. In the letter I would go into detail and highlight their success and show that I appreciate what they have done.” –Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco

12. “The key to any good relationship is communication, and that’s no different for business partners. In my experience as a small business attorney who specializes in business partnership, the best way for partners to communicate is to share their contributions and expectations with each other, take the time to understand what makes each other tick, and, finally, plan for the future of the business to limit uncertainty. Sometimes it helps to work with a business coach or other third party to really make sure everyone understands each other. Generally, people are considerably happier when they completely understand each other and have a plan for the future.” –Andrew Legrand, Spera Law Group, LLC

13. “Here’s what we do to keep our partners happy:

– We thank our partners explicitly when they share our posts or talk about us publicly. 
– We do the same in return to show them the explicit benefits of the partnership 
– We try to offer them value – in our case it might be our expertise and services pro bono 
– We keep them happy by making it clear we’re here to help if need be – our partners sometimes come to us in times of panic (serious web & tech difficulties) – we can then call in a favor later down the line.” –Guy Brockless, Creatella

14. “How we show love to our partners:
1. Recognize the strength of each partner and plan division of work accordingly. 
2. Give due weightage to the views of each partner in decision making. 
3. Appreciate the good works, contributions and achievements of your partner. 
4. Extend full support to your partner for tackling problems in business and family, if she needs it.” –Baiju Masoodu, Orbit Keen Corporate Services LLC, Dubai, UAE

15. “Running an online business means I could work all day and night but to keep my partner happy we do a No Technology Thursday every week. What this means is once we get home on Thursday we don’t turn on any screens. It grounds us every week and helps us relax. Since instituting this policy it has helped us slow down the week and look forward to Thursday nights. I couldn’t recommend it more.” –Max Page, CouponHippo

16. “With our personal injury law firm, we have professional partners, like chiropractors, with whom we have a symbiotic relationship (they refer clients to us, we refer clients to them). To help sustain and cultivate this relationship, we constantly emphasize clear, consistent communication. Whether this be through getting medical records to them on time or taking small gifts to them on the holidays. In our communication, when they express concerns, we immediately try to make that one of our priorities.” –Matthew Driggs, Advocates Law

17. “Although my business partner doesn’t need to ask me for time off, whenever I can, I’ll offer to hold down and take care of all of our small business responsibilities so he can have a break from time to time. And I’ll also show him through my efforts that I am truly committed to our small business, which I think is a small sign of love (I’ve made personal and financial sacrifices due to my appreciation for the partnership).” –Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers

18. “Little things mean a lot (for my romantic partner): a small gift, breakfast in bed, going to a favorite place, sudden kiss, a gentle word, a long hug. I leave him the love messages in unusual places (his bag or wallet). I’m sending him SMS while we are at work, to show that I think of him. I surprise him with a weekend break to somewhere we hadn’t explored before.” –Billie Jean Bateson, Amazing Wristbands

19. “Well the chord gets pulled if there’s no love and what I mean by that, is if you don’t treat them with ultimate respect, than the company can’t grow. Taking them out, buying them material things, isn’t so important as they share the same kindred spirit in some way shape or form. My partners ideas are often what charters the business, so listening and implementing her ideas is one of the main reasons we are still in business.” –Franklin Lujan, All Your Leads Needs Inc.

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