5 Ways to Grow with Strategic PartnersBy Dana Sellers on January 14th, 2016 /
Collaborating with other businesses can increase the value of your brand, giving your small business a competitive edge while increasing your bottom line in revolutionary ways. Strategic partnerships can provide you with capital, expose your brand to new markets, provide resources needed and create additional revenue streams. Leveraging strategic partnerships can be necessary to compete against your direct competitors and the larger companies in your industry.
When you have good strategic partnerships, you can ultimately speed up the growth of your business. So consider these tips before you and other businesses collaborate with each other.
1. Think about your clientele when picking a strategic partner.
When evaluating a potential strategic business partnership, have a clear grasp of the value your business brings and what makes your business special. Conversely, be honest about your businesses’ weaknesses and what you need help with. Seeking strategic partners that are experts in areas where you lack will help free you up to focus on your core capabilities and provide more services to your clients. You’ll also have more time to focus on opportunities that will help your business grow.
2. Qualify, qualify, qualify.
Even though your strategic business alliance is not “technically” your business partner; you will be working close together and leveraging each other’s reputation. So many small business collaborations fail because they don’t take enough time to pre-qualify their prospective partners. You should feel confident that your strategic partnerships will deliver what they promise. Do they attract the clientele you want? How does the industry review their reputation? Do you like them? Do your research and review their track record.
3. Clarify all the details upfront.
It is important that everyone is aligned and on the same page. Partnerships should be mutually beneficial. Both parties need to gain from the partnership for it to be worthwhile. Therefore, it is important to outline what each party wants to get out of the relationship and how you will work together. Each party needs to have a clear understanding of each other’s goals and expectations. It is also important to put those expectations in writing. When you have a clear understanding in writing, it’s easy to build a powerful and long-lasting business relationship.
4. Start small.
Just like personal relationships, it’s best to test the waters and build confidence in the relationship before jumping in and getting heavily involved. Your partnerships need to evolve naturally, and that generally happens over time from successfully working together.
5. Communicate openly and frequently.
Once you’ve found a great strategic alliance, don’t forget to keep the lines of communication open. It’s usually a good idea to coordinate regular meetings for all key people involved sharing information openly, particularly on financial matters and work out any problems that arise. This will allow you both to handle unexpected issues and changes quickly while keeping confidence levels high on both sides. The more trust there is, the better chance that the strategic partnership will work long-term.
If you’re a small business not benefiting from strategic partnerships, you should start thinking about how you can develop them. Offer your business new ways to build and grow.
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