Strategic alliances can make or break a company’s success. Choose the wrong partner and you could lose your ROI and compromise the company’s reputation. Choose the right one and watch your productivity and revenue grow.
When you’re in expansion-mode, it’s critical to develop partnerships that work on a win-win basis. The key is to remember the process doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Whether you are aware of it or not, there are organizations out there looking for you as a partner, they may not know it yet. First and foremost, you have to be clear what you’re looking for in a partner as well as on what you will bring to the table.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Ask for referrals – Sending out the word to your network will help you pre-qualify partners.
2. Communicate – Pretty obvious, but if you don’t communicate the plan and discuss mutual expectations, you’ll get nowhere fast.
3. Be willing to be open – Look for shared values and the areas where value can be created most by collaboration.
4. Set realistic timelines – Neither you or your intended alliance should rush into any deals. Similarly, timelines for accomplishing goals will also need to be established.
5. Do your legal due diligence – Ensure you cross all your T’s when it comes time to negotiate. Have a plan for enacting the partnership agreement as well as exit strategies. Additionally, perform background checks on potential partners (there are too many reasons not to do this).
6. Size doesn’t matter – It is possible to partner with huge corporations. For example, we created a partnership between a small company and one of the large divisions of Hewlett Packard.
Business partnerships are created every day. The ones that thrive and stand the test of time are built on mutual understanding and trust. Setting yourself on the right path from the start will see you maximize your growth and your bottom line. All it takes is a few key lessons in the art of the strategic alliance.