Although they have the power to change the level of success for a small business, B2B partnerships are not quick fixes. Forming the right partnerships, with the right businesses, at the right time, takes a lot of work on both sides of the relationship.

If you follow the nine steps I outlined for B2B partnership success, you should be on your way to a profitable partnership. However, even if you do follow those steps, there are things to watch out for that can sabotage a B2B relationship and cause irreparable damage. Here are five things to avoid in your next business partnership.

Opposing Partnership Goals and Priorities

While your business and overall goals may be very different – this often makes a good B2B partnership – there has to be a meeting of the minds when it comes to the goals and priorities of the partnership.

Both sides should understand why the other business is in the relationship and what they expect to get out of it. Without taking the time to get clarity on this, and ensure that both businesses support both sets of goals, neither business will benefit from the relationship.

Lacking Company-Wide Buy In

When the core personnel of both businesses are on the same page, the B2B partnership has the foundation it needs to succeed. Without company-wide support, you may be entering into a push-and-pull situation that will result in conflict instead of new business.

Unless your business is a solo operation, you will need to approach a B2B partnership from a company mindset. This means you need to make sure your entire team supports the relationship, especially the top of the organization, if it’s not you.

Communicating Poorly

Communication is one of the most important elements in any relationship, especially B2B partnerships. If both parties can’t communicate clearly and listen effectively, the partnership will quickly fizzle out.

And don’t overlook the importance of personality. It will be very challenging to work together and support each other if you don’t like and respect the people you are dealing with.

Lacking “Partnership”

Having a successful mutual partnership means that both businesses are bringing value to the table, contributing equally, dedicating the same amount of time and effort to the relationship, and receiving comparable benefits for their investment. Everything doesn’t have to be exact, but both businesses need to feel like they are getting what they bargained for in the relationship.

Red flags that the “partnership” is lacking could be one partner dominating the relationship (or trying to), or one partner doing all of the work (or feeling like they are).

Not Following Through

Every partnership needs shared goals and objectives, and a plan for executing the mutual vision. The best B2B partnership in the world is destined for failure if either business drops the ball. Make sure the partnership doesn’t loose steam by clearly outlining responsibilities, creating metrics to measure success, and holding each other accountable.

Taking the steps necessary to develop a mutually beneficial relationship is the first part of creating a successful B2B partnership. Once you add in the ability to recognize the red flags and address them quickly, your B2B partnership is on the way to becoming a profitable long-term relationship.