Business Partnership can at times feel like a MarriagePosted On 2/10/2017
Joining up with partners can result in offspring where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In today’s era of globalisation, the ability to form successful partnerships plays a vital role in your company’s success. It’s not enough to get engaged, you want to get married and you want that marriage to last a long, long time.
Here are a few important steps in forming a long lasting and fruitful relationship with the right partner company:
What Kind of Partner Do You Want?
It’s a big market out there of companies looking to hook up with other companies. Chances are there are several companies that might be a lot more interested in you than you in them, and vice versa.
The only way you’ll find a good match is to be clear what you’re looking for. You need to draw up the list of desired qualities, keeping in mind how your company and product are perceived and what you aspire to. Do you like classy? Sexy? Stable? Cautious or adventurous? A little naughty? Courteous and respectful? Brassy, flashy, rich or salt of the earth? Any of these qualities may be necessary in order for two products and companies to work well together and stick with it.
First Comes Love
Well before any official vows taken before the entire world, there is a significant period of developing mutual interest. The two companies have to understand, respect, and genuinely like each other to survive the ups and downs of contract negotiations for a reseller agreement, strategic alliance, or joint development effort.
Then Comes Marriage
Once the agreement is inked comes a long period where you want to work together as harmoniously as possible. Like a real marriage, it may include the awkward adjustment period and the first big fight. It also may fall into any one of a variety of patterns you see out there in real life.
When a well-off company with a plain, staid product needs a sexy new technology to extend its product appeal, it’s not all that concerned with whether the company with the sexy product is stable or well funded itself. What’s important is that both companies help complete each other in a way they both want.
Your little startup company with the jaw-dropping product may be hungry to marry up in the world. Your product has the pizzazz and the capabilities. But you need a company with lots of money in the bank, steady revenues, and a strong customer base that you can sell to.
Partnership of Equals
Some arrangements are a partnership of equals. When two strong, standard-bearing companies work together to integrate products or sell collaboratively, it has a powerful impact on the market. But even when two smaller companies do the same, they have better sales coverage and more features, and each one looks larger than the two of them combined.
Some relationships work fine without the two partners needing to be each other’s best friend. But occasionally you get a partnership where not only both companies get along, but they get along wonderfully, and really enjoy working together and being together. The kind of energy that comes out of such a situation helps generate passion and enthusiasm for joint sales and marketing ventures as well as significant integrated product development.
Clash of Family Cultures
We have all seen the tensions and battles that can arise when two very different families, with different backgrounds, preferences, personalities, and lifestyles find themselves thrown together. Two companies that work together may have widely divergent cultures and still be able to work things out. Project managers on both sides can serve as the equivalent of the happy couple who have to find a way to bridge the gap between the two clans.
In such a situation, it can be beneficial to try to bring together pairs of counterparts from each company. Let the two Development managers meet or the two Marketing pros. This can help build strong ties even though things might be a little strained when larger groups meet.
You and Me against the World
The enemies of one company often become the enemies of the other. When considering a potential partner, take a good look at their enemies, because they’ll very often become yours, and pretty quickly, too.
When you have a good partnership, it can be a real comfort to make common cause against your rivals and competitors. Each side can help the other put together more pieces of information to form a more complete picture of the competition’s product development, marketing strategies, and strong and weak points.
Part of Your Life Now
The more time you spend together, the more it sinks in that your partner company is part of your life now, and it’s your duty to make sure that they are fully folded into your world. As Project Manager, keep your eyes and ears open for information and initiatives across your company where your partner company should be included. During your quarterly sales meeting, have a sales rep from your partner attend to hear about the success stories, the competition, the pipeline, and targeted prospects. It may turn out your partner can open a door somewhere.
How about when a team of developers reviews a technology for potential alliance or acquisition? Chances are your partner’s technology is similar enough that their developers could gain or provide valuable insight and experience.
In-Laws with Connections
Finally, there is the potential for your partner’s friends to become your friends. Talk often with your partner to learn about their community of relationships and alliances, and use their connections to reach potential partners and customers that you are interested in as well.