It is often said that no one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something. At least that’s what we hear from teachers, coaches, and good friends who want to lend a word of encouragement. It’s a timeless point to ponder for a reason, and a fact that underscores the need for partnerships.
If you review the biggest success stories in business (and other various fields of endeavor) you'll find that most—if not all—of them began as a partnership.
Pinchforth recently interviewed Tom Briggs, the founder of independent brand innovation consultancy and design agency, epigraph. We discussed the critical role of partnerships in business and the ideal ways to cultivate them.
Tom Briggs is a renowned creative marketing and positioning guru, public speaker, leadership facilitator, early-stage angel investor, mentor, and coach. Tom is also a global equity advocate and career mentor. Let’s be honest, he sort of challenges that “no one is good at everything” angle.
In 2020, Tom founded epigraph, a B2B/B2C agency collective that specializes in equipping and empowering highly disruptive organizations to build a more just and equitable world.
Tom is a firm believer in innovation, curiosity, and the ability of purposeful, mission-led brands to drive the greater human good. He is an advocate for humanities-rooted education and sustainable partnerships.
Tapping into the talents and skills of individuals from different backgrounds is easily the smartest way to advance innovation. In today's highly competitive world, operating in isolation just isn’t the ideal plan for success.
Since launching epigraph, Tom has ramped up his networking efforts in a bid to discover and recruit values-aligned business minds and collaborators into his collective.
The idea, he explains, is to create a diverse board of advisors with expertise in everything from consumer branding to finance to crypto — a specialist team with the ability to enhance brand activity at any scale—whether that means Global Fortune 50 or early-stage and pre-venture startup.
This mission has inspired the formation of a deep worldwide network of world-class marketers, researchers, creatives, and academics aligned in their mission of equipping organizations looking to do good.
Furthermore, the successes epigraph has chalked over the years have reaffirmed Tom's belief in good partnerships. From his perspective, Tom believes that mutually beneficial partnerships bring out the best in each of us, enable us to make a bigger impact, and create new opportunities by enabling us to venture into unexplored markets.
Success is almost always guaranteed when there's a cross-pollination of great ideas. But how do you create an environment like that, especially when many of the ideas are being generated remotely?
Creating valuable partnerships, especially from many miles away, begins with knowing your strengths and identifying the spaces where you could use a boost from someone who has the skills to make it happen.
“It enables each of us to bring our best gifts and talents to the table,” Tom says. “Each of us has our own unique strengths, and this approach allows us to focus on those areas where we bring the best talent and expertise.”
Saying honed in on your expertise, and making room for others to execute theirs is the surest recipe for producing real value.
Prioritizing the right things will help you create the right partnerships.
Tom recommends asking yourself these questions before entering a collaboration:
● What is your biggest strength?
● What is your key defining feature?
● What value are you bringing to the table?
● What is the biggest strength of your prospective partner?
● What is their key defining feature?
● What value are they bringing to the table?
● What are the non-negotiables that will guide the collaboration? Are they aligned?
High-quality partnerships are more likely to blossom when you prioritize your relationship and respect for mutual talent, focusing on compatibility that will drive results and success.
Tom helped us understand that having a clear course of action rooted in non-negotiable values is the key to achieving sustainable business success. By starting with clearly articulated values and then drawing in fellow collaborators, partners, and clients who share these values, organizations can gain confidence that they will be speaking the same language as those in their ecosystem. More productive (and profitable) business relationships can result. A definitive path and approach will not only streamline your goal-setting process but will also help you establish partnerships that will help you get to the finish line.
Tom's number one strategy, one that calls for working with specifics, is understanding your target audience. He believes that understanding the precise problems and intricate tastes of your target audience will help you set clear partnership goals and achieve them.
Tom also believes in generosity, and by extending that generosity to various aspects of your work and services. Use compassion and generosity to nurture your network and make it a more awesome place to be.
Tom recalls how an ordinary thumbs up on LinkedIn, from a person he’d mentored and kept a great relationship with, helped him form a profitable partnership not long after. Great opportunities can come from the most unexpected of places, and a willingness to extend a hand and share your knowledge, resources, or kindness can go a long way.
Building your business into the success story you’ve been dreaming of may be a single connection away. A great partner can supplement the skills you need to take your services to the next level, or they could introduce you to the missing piece in your network that helps you solve the next big puzzle.
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