Like fine art, fine business partnerships are created through a high level of nurtured skill and craftsmanship, with the most effective strategic partnerships demanding the same continual refinement and appraisal as fine art.
Equipped with careful attention to detail and a clear vision, partnership managers, just like fine artists, can make masterpieces of their business alliances.
How to Create Fine Partnerships
In today’s world, partnering can make or break a business. According to a recent report by Frost & Sullivan, companies of all types are making strategic partnerships a centerpiece of their corporate strategies, committing more than 20 percent of their assets to developing and managing alliances.
Ari Zoldan, media and technology expert and CEO of Quantum Networks, LLC, believes strategic alliances are essential for businesses today. He says:
“We are seeing a serious paradigm shift in how people are doing business. Synergistic partnerships and collaboration is one major key ingredient to making it in todays economy.”
Whether you’re in need of an R&D partner to help bring your vision to life, you’re part of a startup looking to partner with a household name or you’re aiming for a simple collaboration to help you grow your business, partnering can have a large, positive impact on the growth potential and financial stability of your business. Today, partnering isn’t just for big industry players – thousands of businesses are entering strategic partnerships around the world each year. Below is a finely disciplined approach for making your next partnership as masterful as a Picasso.
1. Take Stock: What’s Your Realistic Capacity?
Before entering into a partnership, taking stock of your resources and your employees’ bandwidth is essential. Identifying areas where you are strong or weak will help you determine what strengths you should look for in a strategic partner and what weaknesses you can overlook. For example, if you are strong in product development but weak in bringing products to market, partner with someone whose forte is in marketing and advertising.
This seems intuitive, but you wouldn’t believe the number of businesses that choose the WRONG partner! I cannot stress enough the importance of doing your due diligence – not just on potential partners but also on yourself and your capabilities. This dual approach will help you to find your most synergistic partners and help ensure mutually beneficial outcomes.
2. Sure, YOU Love Your Company – but Why Should Someone Else Love It Too?
Think realistically about the products and/or the services you provide. Think your company is the next big acquisition Apple should consider? Ask yourself why. What strengths and weaknesses do you have to offer a potential partner, and how could your offerings help a potential partner’s customers?
Being 100% clear about your core value proposition goes a long way in convincing a potential new partner how and why they and their customers will value your products and services. Understand and be able to explain your unique market position and the value that you can deliver.
3. Dream Big, Dream Synergy
“Today’s business world is very complex, and no company, regardless of size, can effectively compete on its own. Partnerships should be a strategic part of any company’s growth plans.” – Anthony Gioeli, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, KeyLemon
Your product and/or service needs to be beneficial to the company you are partnering with. Otherwise, what’s the point? No one wants to partner with someone who’s offering something that doesn’t make sense to them or to their customers. Make sure your products and services align so that all may benefit.
4. Stand Out from the Crowd
Know your product, pitch it clearly and concisely and show your potential partner the value you could bring to the table. Often those pitching an alliance fail to realize how they are being perceived; many times, entrepreneurs and business executives speak so much of the minutiae that potential partners get lost in the details too early on.
Don’t fall into this trap. Stand out from competitors by evaluating how your product aligns with your potential partner’s. Then speak to your potential partner in a way that shows you intelligently understand how your product will benefit them, and walk them through how you would succeed by working together. Most importantly, don’t falter. Be open, honest and full of integrity – it goes a long way, trust me! I’ve worked with many partners over the past several years, and the more open and honest communications are, the better and easier to manage the whole process becomes.
5. Have Courage: The Results Will be Worth It!
Often, many business leaders and entrepreneurs never take that first step off the cliff and into partnering. The fear of rejection and failure has no place in driving business growth, and having the courage and confidence to pursue strategic partnerships will go a long way in helping you make your dreams a reality.
Ramon Ray, entrepreneur, small business expert and best-selling author of Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing, doesn’t believe in letting fear of failure or lack of success deter him from running and managing his businesses. According to Ramon, businesses willing to collaborate are the ones that will succeed:
“Businesses who are silos are not as strong as businesses who collaborate. Collaborating businesses are able to harness the ideas, inspiration and knowledge of other professionals to advance their own business. One must enter partnerships with patience and due diligence – but not let fear stop a good partnership from happening.”
Make Partnerships Part of Your Business Strategy
Like a carefully crafted masterpiece, partnerships take time, patience and artistry to produce what are often spectacular results. Having a vision in place, acting according to due diligence and finding and courting the right partners are all crucial steps to using partnerships to your advantage. As we fast approach 2015, easily the year for creating and seeing the world of partnerships flourish, take some time to build partnering into your business strategy.
For more resources on effectively creating and managing partnerships, check out our free downloadable strategies guide.
Featured image by Trey Ratcliff