The importance of staying connected - hello from San Francisco!

Matt Doyle is the co-founder of Launchcloud, a company that creates forms that enable brands to capture better data about their customers. He's also a Virgin StartUp ambassador. This month his blog talking about the importance of face-to-face connection. comes all the way from San Francisco, the world's leading startup hotspot.

I’m currently in San Francisco, connecting with some people Launchcloud has the potential to do business with. These days everyone connects their social media accounts, such as Twitter and Instagram - so why not do the same in the business world?

At Launchcloud we’ve always found it really important to integrate with our partners, and build successful and long lasting relationships, built on mutual trust. You can only really achieve this by meeting and getting to know those partners.

It’s not about the sunshine

Don’t get me wrong, San Francisco is a beautiful city when the sun is out, but my time here has been all about networking with some of the top tech companies, and making sure that we are getting it right, when it comes to working with our partners. Co-operative business shouldn’t be a tug-of-war - it’s all about pulling in the same direction.

It’s been an exciting time for me, getting used to a city I had never visited before, and meeting some of the biggest names in the tech world.

Why cross the Atlantic?

You may be thinking why bother to travel all the way to the USA to meet people, when the real value in business lies in being able to integrate software with other softwares in order to deliver your service or product. But is that really true?

To an extent it is. At Launchcloud, we have an API which enables us to plug into any potential integration partners. This is vital to the product we provide, as it makes the process of gathering information and handling data far more straightforward, time-efficient, and cost-effective for our partners.

That’s only part of the story though. There has always been a case in business for face-to-face contact and that still exists today, even in the digital age. No amount of conference calls and emails can effectively replace meeting a partner on their home ground, and starting and maintaining the process of working together.

I’m not suggesting that I’m going to pop over to San Francisco every week; time and money won’t allow that unfortunately. But some face to face contact is a vital component of any really effective partnership. It even makes the jetlag worthwhile.

The beauty of connectivity

You don’t have to be a technology company to understand how valuable connectivity can be. In fact connection is part of the foundation of every business, whether you’re connecting with the community, with your customers or with complementary businesses.

Connecting with a business to partner with, can lead to incredible things, if you can both add something to the value of the other. You just need to make sure that your partnership is with the right business.

Here are the top things to do when choosing a company to partner with:

  • Find a company that has the same user base, but isn’t a direct competitor.
  • Decide whether their location makes them a potentially good partner.
  • Check out what they do and see if there’ s anything your customers would love.
  • Think about how much you admire what they do; are they a market leader?
  • Take a look at their marketing resources; is there potential to market you?

I’ll leave you with this tip from me: skip the technology and meet with partners face to face if you really want to get to know them.

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