A business arrangement is an agreement between two or more parties. It could be really simple or extremely complex. Some business arrangements are made and agreed on with a handshake. Other business arrangements require written contracts. Begin thinking about your business arrangement by deciding what you want out of the relationship--and what you will offer in return. The best business arrangements should lead to both parties receiving equal value.

Step 1.

Identify potential business partners through networking. You should always be on the lookout for potential business partners as you grow your business. Get to know other business owners by attending industry functions, including workshops and conventions. Learn about some of the challenges your competitors are facing. You may learn that you are strong where a competitor is weak, and vice versa. This could lead to a business arrangement that benefits both parties.

Step 2.

Approach a potential partner who appears to be a good match based on your research and networking. Example: You are starting a specialty catering company but need part-time use of a commercial kitchen.You know of a larger caterer who has scaled back some because of financial problems. You enter into a business arrangement with the established caterer to use her kitchen during off hours, and pay a fee for the rights. This gives you the facility that you need and provides some much-needed income for the larger caterer.

Step 3.

Select a more sophisticated structure for your business arrangement--such as a joint venture--if necessary. A joint venture allows your company and another company to work together on a business initiative or a series of initiatives. Example: your minority-owned construction company enters into a joint venture with a non-minority company to bid on a highway construction project. The two companies sign a joint venture agreement detailing various terms and conditions, including a formula for splitting the revenue. The joint bid is seen as competitive because the government agency building the highway encourages cooperation between minority-owned companies and non-minority-owned companies.

Step 4.

Publicize your successful business arrangements. Talk about the success on your social networking sites or issue a press release. As your profile in the community increases, other companies may seek you out for business arrangements.