The business world can be an intimidating place for small business. But there is no reason to think it is you against the world. Strategic partnership can be extremely powerful and effective for small businesses to level the playing field. Strategic partners can be used in areas such as marketing and sales, distribution or even throughout the supplier network. These alliances can be the difference between surviving or thriving.
One of the great benefits of strategic partnerships is they create the ability to leverage your resources. Every small business has limited resources internally from capital, manpower, knowledge and or even buying power. Strategic partners allow you to leverage areas that you may need additional strength to get a competitive edge.
Not every business relationship is suitable for a strategic partnership, so determining the proper fit is very important. There is a process to determine who is suitable and can pay big dividends. Kate Vitasek is a world renowned supply chain author and she calls these 3 ideas the foundation of the relationship. Follow these ideas and you will be on your way.
- Trust – this can be difficult to develop and may take some time but it is critical to any relationship. It will take effort, but everything worthwhile requires work. Trust must be developed over time through a series of actions, words and follow through. Trust is a two way street and each party plays a vital role in matching the choices of trust along the way. Trust is a simple concept that helps to provide a foundation for the rest of the relationship. But lack of trust destroys. Choose wisely.
- Transparency – once trust is established the best way to keep it is through the use of transparency in everything. Nothing erodes trust like a lack of transparency. Transparency helps to keep trust and can be achieved through simple agreements. Whether it is through reporting, discussions or shared resources being transparent in your business relationship fuels the trust. Don’t you think the current FIFA World Cup Soccer scandal could have been avoided with a little transparency?
- Compatibility – while trust and transparency are vital to the foundation, compatibility is like the glue that keeps it all together. Two partners that are not in proper alignment just don’t seem to fit. It is very important to find a balance for the partnership that is beneficial for both parties and is a good fit. Proper compatibility comes from the proper alignment of values, culture or size. For example, would it make sense for a small local organic restaurant to partner with Monsanto? Not a chance!
Strategic partnerships have proven to change the course of history from Ford and Firestone, to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak or even Ben and Jerry. Partnerships can have a dramatic effect on your business from sales development to cost reduction in your supplier base. If you are ready to dominate vs. participate let strategic partnerships help you get there.
If you know anyone that would like help understanding how to develop strategic partnerships for their business, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Question: what are some of your favorite business partnerships?