Monday, January 29, 2007

Strategic Partnerships to Grow Your Consulting Business

At the last TVCNet meeting some guests and members expressed interest in meeting new people to form strategic partnerships. I'm all for this business practice and I'm doing the same with my business, PinPoint Performance Solutions.

Strategic partnerships are an excellent way to match complimentary goods and services for a common goal or objective, such as tapping into new markets or increasing market share. Some strategic partnerships are informal, where both businesses will refer business to one another or they will team up and work on a single project sharing resources. Some partnerships are a little more formal and bound by an agreement where roles are clearly defined between the two parties and a revenue sharing structure is created. In the end, it's two businesses coming together to find ways to leverage one another's products and services.

Entering a strategic partnership with a fellow consultant, consulting firm or corporation shouldn't be taken lightly. One of the lessons I learned over the years was be careful who you hitch your wagon to. Meaning - the person or persons you team up with have just as much ability to make you successful as they do to make you unsuccessful.

When you decide to form a strategic partnership, here are a few things you can do to make sure the partnership is compatible and mutually beneficial for everyone involved:

  1. Do your research - take an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Match those strengths and weaknesses to market trends an needs. Determine which market opportunities you want to take advantage of and seek out those who can help you. Remember, in order for a partnership to work you must have full support from everyone involved.
  2. Analyze your current relationships - you may already have relationships that meet your current needs and compliment your strengths and weaknesses. If you add to your roster of partnerships you may end up creating management headaches, producing fewer results.
  3. Analyze the current business climate - if there is no need, then don't form a partnership just for the sake of forming one. Partnerships are great, but they should be formed based on criteria such as market reputation, stability and longevity.
Finding strategic partnerships can help boost any business. The trick is to find partners with a similar vision, needs, capabilities and a willingness to strengthen and nurture the relationship for the long-term.

If you would like more information on the finer points of forming a strategic partnership, you can find it here at Kauffman eVenturing.

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