Strategic alliances are partnerships where two or more businesses work together. This might mean sharing information, skills and expertise, and resources. Both partners can potentially extend market reach or enter new markets. If done well, a strategic partnership can help both companies grow without increasing their costs or risks.
We’re always looking to make good, mutually beneficial strategic partnerships with like-minded, ethical businesses. We’ve been asked many times what to look for in a potential partner.
What do you need to know?
When you’re thinking about a partnership, these questions can be a valuable starting point:
- What are you looking for in a partner? Are there specific ‘must have’ characteristics? These could include, for example: business culture, attitude to customer service, size, location, or market reach, compatible brands.
- How keen is the partner for the strategic partnership to go ahead? Does that enthusiasm extend throughout the company, including at upper management and board level?
- How would this alliance help your business? Will it affect your market position? How?
- Does this potential partner have attributes that other potentials don’t? Does it outrank the competition on key characteristics?
- How will you measure the success of the partnership? Are there clear measures you can use? Will it be easy to exchange data and get information to help you evaluate the partnership when it’s up and running? Are the objectives you have for the partnership the same as those of your potential partner?
- Will this be a long-term partnership, or a short-term proposition? Are both potential partners clear about this?
- Do you have a clear plan? Are there time-frames, regular scheduled meetings and reports, a communication plan? Is there an exit strategy? Will there be a clear contract? Or will the partnership run in an ‘ad hoc’ manner?