Continuous innovation is a major challenge faced by business executives today. As customer needs grow more diverse in the face of a globalizing economy, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to innovate and meet all of their customers’ needs on their own. Thankfully business leaders are finding a strategic partnership to be a meaningful way to meet customer demands.
In a recent study, IBM found that 82% of business leaders believe partnerships will be a prime vehicle for business growth, and 66% are looking for partnerships that will help them grow their businesses. This is a strategy that leads to growth, as organizations proven to be financially successful are 28% more likely to use partnerships extensively to drive innovation.
Strategic Partnerships and Innovation: A Study of Starbucks
Starbucks is one example of the drastic effect partnerships can have on business growth. Starbucks started in 1984 as a coffee bar concept in downtown Seattle. The concept proved so successful that, over the next eight years, the Starbucks Corporation spread its coffee bars to over 150 locations. It wasn’t until 1993, though, that Starbucks truly began to solidify its reputation as the luxury coffee brand of choice by partnering with Barnes and Nobles bookstores as its in-house coffee shop.
Over the following years Starbucks products and brand spread into grocery stores, airlines, hotels and more through alliances with PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Dreyer’s Ice Cream, United Airlines, Starwood Hotels and more. Through these partnerships Starbucks has created a presence in 64 countries around the world. “We look for partners who share our values, culture, and goals about community development,” said Kathy Lindemann, Senior Vice President of Operations for Starbucks International. “We are primarily interested in partners who can guide us through the process of starting up in a foreign location.”
Today Starbucks is one of the most well-known and sought after coffee companies in the world. Its 23,000+ store locations are no accident or a product of gimmicky advertising; rather, strategic partnerships were (and still are) central to Starbucks’ explosive growth. To expand its business from a local Seattle coffee bar to common household name, Starbucks relied on partnerships. Today strategic alliances are widely credited as a main driver of Starbucks’ long-term success and growth.
Find Your Next Strategic Partnership
Business leaders around the world aim to achieve growth and success by creating a strategic partnership, and Powerlinx is helping them make these goals a reality. Precision ball manufacturer and Powerlinx member New England Miniature Ball, for example, was able to double its production and diversify its product offerings after connecting with a European supplier through Powerlinx.
The Powerlinx Team
Featured image by Simon Hadleigh-Sparks