Posted on Monday 29 August 2016 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property

Wherever distance is involved in a business contract, then both parties can be a little unsure of the how strong the relationship is and how the nature of that relationship is contributing to the success of partnership’s efforts. However, just as with any relationship, to be successful, both parties must do what they can to create a working bond based on mutual understanding and empathy – one that results in a strong working relationship that improves the outcome of every assignment.


Who are you dealing with?

It is possible that you will meet your foreign partner face-to-face, so you need to make efforts to get to know them through the research and the communication channels available. Talking to their other clients in the US and elsewhere may also be of value.

To start with, it can be useful to sit down with your own work colleagues and discuss what sort of relationship you expect and how it will assist in achieving set goals. In this respect the boutique firm holds many benefits. With everyone located in one office, there is a more uniform culture and approach that will be reflected in the relationship. In fact, you will probably be on first name terms with everyone in the overseas office – not something that is likely to happen with a big company.


A relationship that works

The best business relationships not only achieve their objectives, along the way, they should help your company in other ways. For instance, a filing partner that appreciates and respects your business will be happy to proactively advise on things you could be doing better, perhaps even saving money in the process.

With a larger firm, you could be dealing with a lot more hierarchy and bureaucracy, all of which can hamper a good working relationship.


Try it on for size

One way of approaching the problem of how the staff at the overseas firm fit with your own, personality-wise, is to set up a simple test project. By the time the project has ended, you should have a good idea whether or not the partnership is likely to work out long term.

Remember too, that the best relationships are not one-sided. There are things you can do to enhance your working relationship, such as paying your bill in a timely manner or responding promptly to requests for information.


In business, a strong working relationship can mean the difference between success and failure. That is why it is crucially important to ensure your relationship with your overseas partner is courteous, strong and mutually beneficial.