Whether you’re an international organization or a mom-and-pop shop, strategic partnerships are a valuable asset to any business. Building client bases, creating revenue streams, and increasing your distribution are just some of the benefits strategic partnerships can offer. But how do you know if a company will make a good match? Before making a decision, ask yourself a few questions to ensure you’re making the right choice for your business.
Are We a Cultural Match?
Before beginning a partnership, make sure both companies share the same values. “In short, culture is the driving force behind successful businesses or the Achilles heel that eventually fades organizations into oblivion,” writes Joe Evans, president and CEO of Method Frameworks, on the Executive Street blog. When partnering with a company, it is key that you share the same ethics and values. Both companies need to be invested in conducting themselves in a similar manner–this will avoid conflict both between companies and with clients.
Is There a Mutual Benefit?
A good partnership can result in improved operations, more revenue, a broader client base, and a larger brand. When searching for a strategic partnership, consider how each company will benefit from combining forces. With a cultural match in place as a strong foundation, you can now explore where your strengths and/or weaknesses may complement each other in a way that will help you achieve beyond what you can do on your own. Creativity at this stage is also an asset and both parties should strive to look outside the box to consider all options before honing in on where they might work together.
Talk It Out First
Companies that have clear and open lines of communication make the best strategic partners because they clearly and precisely express their concerns, expectations, and vision. These open lines of communication will be crucial throughout the partnership but are especially important as you establish the parameters and goals before the partnership begins. Clear communication will ensure a long, successful partnership.
Strategic partnerships don’t come with guarantees. Companies have needs and priorities that change over time. But, if you look for a cultural match, focus on how you can mutually benefit, and go in with a plan, your strategic partnership has an excellent chance to succeed.
Written by Steve Weiss, CAE