Today the idea of strategic partner alliances is a noticeable business trend across every category. The idea is simple: creating more work for everyone involved than they could create solely themselves. Microsoft and Hewlett Packard do it with IT resellers, and meeting planners do it with other planners and their suppliers.
These strategic partnerships take many forms, from informal cross-referrals, to formal corporations. Fundamentally, each partner brings a unique set of core competencies to the table that fill in areas where other partners may be lacking, expanding everyone’s ability to reach more customers and handle more diverse projects seamlessly.
These partnerships are generally more flexible and responsive than companies that outsource while presenting a pretense that the outsourced entity is “on staff.” Partnerships also eliminate the risk and overhead involved in hiring full-time employees that depend on a certain volume of work to turn a profit.
However, a single source for managing a project turnkey remains attractive for busy clients. Additionally, depending on the cohesiveness of the partnership, when work does come in, it can be challenging to determine which partner takes ownership or which project gets priority.
In fact, many partnerships don’t market themselves as partnerships at all. Instead, they have a network of “go-to” partners and resources when the opportunity arises. This approach can keep the true power of partnership (expanding the customer base exponentially) severely under utilized. When several entities decide partnership will help them grown more effectively than the solo track, there are several things they should definitely do to get the most out of this approach:
Partnership is a new normal approach to how business gets done. That doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. For true success, enter into partnerships with careful consideration and clear direction.
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