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Black Connect
by on July 8, 2019

We have all heard the phrase, "work smarter, not harder." This nugget of wisdom should be the credo of every small business owner.  Forming strategic partnerships is one way that small businesses can work smarter.  Strategic partnerships can have a significant impact on small businesses.

Forming partnerships (or alliances) is a business strategy that every business should consider. It is often challenging for small businesses to gain traction in the market, but if you are strategic in your methodology, partnerships (or alliances) could lead your business to greater heights.  With the right partners for your business, you can stand out ahead of your competitors and reach new audiences. For these reasons, strategic partnerships should be considered by both new and seasoned businesses owners.

In this article, you will learn how to utilize a strategic partnership to help grow your business. 

4 Tips To Form the Right Partnerships for Your Business

Your business can benefit a great deal from building good relationships with partners. Such connections could attract the right human and financial resources to your business. Here are some tips to help you find the right partner for your business. 

#1. Define Your Needs and Strengths

The first thing you should do is to analyze what needs a partner can fill. A partner typically will help to bridge the gap in specific areas within your business or organization. It could be skill or talent, shared expenses, brand awareness, etc. However, it would be best if you start by analyzing the aspect of your business that needs attention. 

Once you have pinpointed the most urgent needs of your business, figure out what you have to offer in return  A successful partnership is mutually beneficial. Each party must benefit from the union by capitalizing on the strengths of the other party.

The mutual benefit of the partnership may be shared expenses.  Small businesses that partner may be able to obtain office or retail space, launch marketing or advertising campaigns, or hire employees that they would not otherwise be able to afford independently.

Your prospective partner may not invest money into your business, but his or her skills, connections, and experience may be veritable tools for your business growth.

Seasoned business owners can benefit from the innovation of new business owners, and new business owners can benefit from the experience and wisdom of established business owners.  Whether new or seasoned, all business owners can benefit from the opportunity to expand their customer base.


#2 Look For Potential Partners in the Right Places


After you assess your business needs, research businesses that can help strengthen your area(s) of need.  Next look for areas in those businesses that can be enhanced by your skills, talents, or resources. 6 things to look for in a potential partner include: 

  • common mission or company values
  • complementary products or services 
  • target demographic
  • marketing channels
  • common current needs and goals
  • strengths

Attend Networking and Professional Development Activities
Use workshops, conferences, and networking events as an opportunity to scout for potential partners for your business.  Initial conversations with business owners and professionals and ask 5 of the research questions above to help you determine whether the potential for partnership exists: What is your mission or company values?  What products or services do you provide?  Who is your target customer? How do you market your business?  What are your current needs and goals?

List Your Partnership Opportunity on BlackConnect.com
Professional platforms like Black Connect are an excellent place to connect with entrepreneurs, business owners, and freelance professionals. You will meet business-minded people who understand the challenges of business ownership and are willing to invest their time, resources, and skills in your business.  You can list your partnership opportunity on Black Connect, share your listing on other platforms, and invite people to view the opportunity you have to offer.  Your partnership opportunity could be featured in Black Connect's weekly newsletter to its members located throughout the United States, Caribbean, Africa, and the United Kingdom.  

In your listing, be sure to include specific information about your business and what you're looking for in a partner.  Describe:

  • Your product or service
  • Your location and whether you sell online or have a physical location
  • Your target customers
  • Your company's mission and values
  • The need you're looking to fill through a partnership
  • What you can offer and bring to the partnership

#3 Propose the Partnership

Once you have developed your targeted list of potential partners, create a proposal tailored to each business or organization.  The proposal is your vision and plan for the partnership.  Your proposal should emphasize how the other company can benefit from the collaboration and the desired outcomes of the business.  Direct your proposal to decision-makers.  Research the fundamental principals and find the key person(s) you need to connect with.

#4. Outline the Terms of the Partnership in a Strategic Partnership Agreement

The foundation of a strong partnership is a trusting relationship and effective communication between the partners.  A written partnership agreement will help minimize misunderstandings and miscommunication.  The partnership agreement will specify essential terms such as the role and responsibilities of each partner; the duration of the partnership; the rights of each partner; revenue sharing; communication methods; measurement of success; and how to resolve disagreements.  You can view a sample strategic partnership agreement here.
Final Words
Forming strategic partnerships can be a cost-effective approach to filling a need of your business and helping your business grow.  Learn as much as you can about the company you want to partner with and the person who is leading the company to make sure it's a good match.   Analyze how the partnership will affect your business in the long run. With this thought in mind, you will surely make the right connection. 

If you have questions about strategic partnerships, you can post your questions in Black Connect's new Business Development Forum and get answers and advice from other business owners.
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