Many of us have heard the term “strategic alliance”, but how do we find the right one and how can it help our businesses?
Well, let’s look at what Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary has for a definition of each of the words:
- a necessary to or important in the initiation, conduct or completion of a strategic plan;
- of great importance within an integrated whole or to a planned effect or course of action.
- the state of being allied (close association);
- a bond or connection between parties;
- an association to further the common interests of the members.
When you put the two definitions together you get an important contribution to a successful business venture. By forming a close association with another business, a connection is made to further your common interests . . . work with them to help build each of your businesses.
Each business has unique skills, services or products. By combining these traits, you can live by the old saying . . . ‘Two heads are better than one’. The goal of both (or more) partnering businesses should be to strengthen your own skills while offering a wider array of services to yours and your alliances’ client base.
Once you have decided that working along side another business could be beneficial to you and allow you to enhance another’s business, the next decision is to determine whom you should partner with.
- Your first step is to find a business that can bring noncompeting skills to the partnership. Their skills, services or products should compliment your talents, not conflict with them.
- The next consideration should be the client base they serve and their ability to bring in new work or orders. If you form a partnership with someone who does little to enhance each of your businesses, you may start to resent them or they you.
- Ensure that you like their work style. As you will be a representative of their business and they of yours, you each will be a reflection of each other’s professionalism. If they have certain means of attracting new business that you do not condone, it may end up hurting your reputation. Become familiar with how they run and build their business.
- Build a bond with your partner. Make sure that you work well together and that you compliment each other. Having a good relationship with each other will definitely be reflected to your clients.
- Compile a list of several alliances. This allows you to work with the best person to ensure your client’s needs are met. It will also assure that you have someone else to turn to should one partner be busy when you need their assistance.
- Finally, and most important, strive to have a partnership of trust. Trusting the performance and instincts of your partner is vital when handing over a portion of a project to be accomplished.
All in all, strategic alliances are a way of boosting both your client base and others’. It also allows for a sharing of intelligence, a sounding board for new ideas and a helping hand with more intricate projects.
Janice Byer is the owner of Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services and webmaster for Econosystems.com. She is also the winner of the Most Successful Start Up 2000 and Home Based Business of the Year 2000 awards.
To read more of her “been there, done that” small business articles, visit http://www.docutype.net.