Strategic Partnership Choices
This is a really crucial subject that many business owners don’t look at hard enough when they are mapping out their business models.
I am a firm believer in businesses keeping their focus on what they are good at delivering, however I also believe that they should be grabbing viable opportunities when they arise.
This means that if there is something that your clients are asking for time and again, and your standard response has been “We don’t do that” – please realise that you are losing out on income every time you say that! (Or worse...pushing clients towards your competitors.)
So, what is the solution?
Forge some solid strategic partnerships and ‘white label’ them. What does that mean? Well, you engage businesses as ‘partners’ for all intents and practical purposes and they deliver what you need them to – but under your name.
What is the catch?
You need to be careful in your strategic partner choices. My top tips in securing long term, sustainable partners are as follows:
1. Interview them as you would a valuable employee
Remember that they will be the ‘face’ of your business – so there is a definite need to ensure that the partner business shares your values and has the same ethical business practises as you do.
2. Get References
Don’t take the prospective partner’s word for it that they are ‘fabulous’ – get some examples of their work and speak to their clients. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
3. Don’t jump at the first attractive proposition
I always ‘watch the waters’ for a while and see if the partner business remains consistent in their communication and that their reputation in the connected business circle ‘rings true’. The partnership must be lucrative for both parties – so make sure its attractive for you and the partner. Anything that is profitably unbalanced is fishy!
4. Have a trial period to test the relationship
As with a new employee – make sure you build in a probation or trial period, where you and the partner can work out if this is a partnership that will be lucrative and sustainable for both of you. You will also need the time to work out any ‘kinks’ – because you don’t know how anything will work out practically.
Copyright © Shelley Pearson 2010
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About the Author
Shelley Pearson, formerly an independent franchise consultant, created the Expert Franchise Guide business after identifying a serious lack of a provision of franchise business guidance products to small and medium sized business owners. She has developed her products in order to solve one of these business owners’ biggest operational obstacles: access to decisive, experienced and cost effective franchise business guidance. She is now an information marketer and has managed to attract both professional affiliations and clients who recognise and value her business acumen matched with a practical and empathetic approach.