There are many ways to build a business, and few are as powerful as establishing strategic partnerships. Ideally, these create win-win scenarios where both parties benefit. The problem with such relationships is they can become more of a burden than a help, particularly when rushed, or, when done with disregard for others.
Savvy business owners know the benefit of strategic partnerships, forging an alliance with another entity to provide more products and services to their customers. In fact, a 2014 survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that in excess of 80 percent of CEO’s looked to create such relationships. However, the sad fact about these partnerships is that a 65 percent were actually successful, so, 15 percent of those did not work out.
Ways to Build Strategic Partnerships
Strategic partnerships are generally sought in order to expand without the cost of an actual expansion. It allows entrepreneurs to tap into resources with existing structures and increase their books of business. Unfortunately, empirical data shows that half of these business relationships fail. The reasons are many, but it can be avoided if you take the necessary precautions.
The formula for a successful strategic partnership may seem easy: 1 + 1 = 3. Indeed, partnerships are a proven way to boost the bottom line. American Express surveyed small businesses in government contracting and found that those who teamed up won 54 percent more prime contracts than average. But creating effective alliances is not always so easy. Partnerships gone wrong can lead to frustration, financial losses and even litigation. —Success.com
Of course, no amount of caution or preparation guarantees things will work out without a hitch. Small businesses can really benefit from strategic partnerships, but to do so, you have to establish a good rapport and be transparent as to your wants, needs, as well as expectations. Here are some ways to build strategic partnerships that will help your company grow while benefiting your business partner:
- Know and quantify your abilities and resources. One of the worst decisions to make is to form a strategic partnership without being able to fulfill your obligations. You certainly don’t want to crack egg all over your face. So, don’t put yourself in such a position and know precisely what you can bring to the table and be upfront about it. Even if you can patch together enough to deliver when necessary, you don’t want the stress that comes with this kind of a situation.
- Be very clear on your “why.” Another huge, colossal mistake, that business owners make is forming partnerships simply to increase their bottom lines. While that is definitely part of the equation, if you don’t go into a relationship with selfish service in-mind, you’re setting yourself up for big time disappointment. Ask yourself honestly why you want to form a business relationship. If you can’t find an answer other than money, you’re eventually going to sabotage your own efforts.
- Ask for reasons why potential partners want to connect.What’s true for you is just as true for potential partners. Don’t be afraid to ask penetrating questions to get at the truth. If you discover he or she is on a one-way self-serving mission, you definitely need to pass.
- Seek those with a shared vision and value system. Take it a step further than just asking questions and get to know him or her before you partner. Build a relationship and during that time, you’ll learn their vision and values. Go slow, learn, and take the time necessary to make the right decision.
In addition to these, don’t expect miracles to happen after you form a strategic partnership. In fact, you ought to expect to be uncomfortable from time-to-time by getting out and meeting with your strategic partners face to face. There’s just no way to hedge against every possible contingency, but fostering and developing positive relationships will build trust and eventual business between the strategic partners.