When two individuals work together within a business that they co-own, they are called "business partners". When you are one of those individuals, you would call the other person "my business partner".

But let's say we have two limited liability companies (or at least, organizations that are not seen as identical to the owner, and would be referred to by the name of the business rather than the owner as an individual). And let's say these companies do close business together. For example:

  • An import company that works together with the same manufacturer for a long time.

  • A store that always uses the same marketing company for advertising.

What would one of such a company call the other? e.g. could such an import company refer in their official documents to that manufacturer by "our business partner"?

  • Have these companies signed some agreement together or is it just traditional or habit that one company uses the services of the other?
    – Jim
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 22:28
  • I am deleting a full answer I had suggesting "affiliates" which suggests more than joint goals but a separate entity with shared financial interests. Should that more extensive relationship be interesting to you I will "undelete" the answer.
    – Tom22
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 22:30
  • What exactly are "official documents"? Please provide the exact context in which you need to use this. Commented May 16, 2017 at 22:38
  • Allies? (From "strategic alliance.") Commented May 17, 2017 at 4:43

1 Answer 1


In the specific example you cited, the import company might refer the manufacturer as a vendor. A vendor is specifically a company that sells products or services to another company, for instance, a consulting company that provides assistance to Company X for money might be referred to as Company X's vendor.

In the opposite situation, you could use the word client.

If you want a general term that encompasses both, or one where there is too much nuance an mutual assistance for "vendor" or "client" to be appropriate, it's perfectly acceptable to use the word partner.

Consider this article in The Washington Post describing a partnership between Waymo and Lyft:

“We can confirm that we are partnering with Waymo to safely and responsibly launch self-driving vehicle pilots,” a Lyft spokeswoman said in an email. “Waymo holds today’s best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world’s best transportation.”

Waymo also confirmed the partnership, which was first reported by the New York Times. “We’re looking forward to working with Lyft to explore new self-driving products that will make our roads safer and transportation more accessible,” a spokesman said in an emailed statement. “Lyft’s vision and commitment to improving the way cities move will help Waymo’s self-driving technology reach more people, in more places.”


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