Go on a walkabout:
Give yourself the freedom to explore ideas, opinions, and perspectives beyond your, and the entities, comfort level. In a sense undertake a corporate growth journey.
Discover the vein of gold:
Start with a strategy not a partner. Find the intersection at which your entity and another could create significant and sustainable value. Don’t run off of your gut, put into writing what you believe to be the right framework, then share with your advisors the why, how, and what.
You have 8 seconds to grab initial interest. Vague, unfocused general requests will find the circular file because you’ll appear confused and a waste of time. Set the agenda by asking a specific question.
Minimize the swagger:
I know this doesn’t happen to you, but often ego tends to trip people up more than they realize. Almost everyone wants to avoid blowhards. At this point your role is to learn and receive just as much as you give.
Don’t jump ahead:
The glue that holds everything together is relationships and there is no substitute for the hard work of getting to know people / organizations. You each have to get to know, like, and trust one another before serious conversations can be had. To keep from becoming frustrated, set a series of goals (returned email , call, etc.) that build upon one another.