Dave Lavinsky, ContributorOne of the biggest mistakes business owners make is trying to do everything alone. To combat this error, business owners must hire and train the right employees. In addition, they should leverage strategic partners.
So what is a strategic partner? A strategic partner is another business with whom you enter into an agreement that aims to help both of you achieve more success.
Below are several types of strategic partners that you might consider for your business.
Strategic Marketing Partners
Effective marketing is one of the most important keys to a successful business. Without a proper marketing strategy, customers will never be aware of a business or its location, products, or services. The problem with marketing is that it can actually hurt a business if done incorrectly (for example, if adverting costs exceed gross margins from advertising).
Developing strategic marketing partners can help you grow your business at a very low cost. For example, if the partner is in a complementary business, you could refer clients between one another. Both partners would increase revenues with no additional advertising costs.
Strategic Financial Partners
Strategic partners can fill a number of financial roles. They can be accountants, bankers, investors or financial advisers. Their purpose is to help monitor the flow of your business’ money and come up with new solutions which increase the amount of money available to you.
Revenue is the life blood of any business but keeping a constant eye on the flow of money can be a full time job. This is why financial partners are incredibly important.
Nearly all businesses will end up dealing with suppliers at some time or another. These partners can be manufacturers, distributors, or vendors and they will supply your business with everything it needs. These needs may range from complex raw materials to simple, yet critical every day office supplies.
Developing strategic partnerships with suppliers has a number of benefits. Working closely with suppliers will ensure that everything is delivered properly and might even lead to special discounts and lower prices. Most importantly, strategic partnerships with suppliers could result in them creating new products tailored to your specific needs that give you competitive advantage.
Strategic Technology Partners
The modern world is heavily reliant on technology and no business can hope to succeed without strategic technology partners. These can be the people who set up and fix office computers, who design and implement office networks, who create custom software to allow your business to run more efficiently, or even the people who design and run your website.
These partners are incredibly important and developing a relationship with them ensures that your business has dedicated technology experts (particularly if technology is not your core competence) who understand the specific needs of your business.
Building Strategic Partnerships
The first step to building a strategic partnership is to identify which firms could help you achieve key goals (e.g., get more customers, lower fulfillment costs, etc.) and/or otherwise give you competitive advantage.
Then, start reaching out to these firms. While it will take time, once you secure these partnerships, your business’ revenues and profits can start to grow. And, if you make these partnerships exclusive, you can gain critical competitive advantage.