Alliances, Strategic Partnerships, Business Collaboration…. Call them what you may, businesses can go further, when they go together. If done right, this mutually beneficial relationship, can enable companies with different yet complementary strengths, to achieve countless levels of success.

Mutually beneficial partnerships have brought on positive results since time immemorial. Nature has a name for this: ‘symbiosis’, meaning that when mutual symbiosis exists, both creatures benefit and thrive happily in their respective lives.

Businesses, built on people, naturally, work no different. Such partnerships are more prone to success when they share common visions and goals, different yet complementary services or capabilities, and can therefore support one another to push the acceleration pedal along the path to growth.

Taking your business beyond local shores

If you’re seeking to grow your business beyond borders and are not sure how to go about it, engaging a partner who is well established within another territory, can save you lots of time, not to mention costs. Teaming up with a partner, who is aware of the culture affinities of the market you are attempting to enter, is connected to support you set up the administrative aspect of your business, recruit the right personnel, and get the right things in motion, can be priceless.

On the ground experience

Whether starting off or in the midst of a partnership, it is always important to take frequent visits to meet in person. Not only to ensure that the operations is running smoothly, but also to make sure that your physical presence is felt. You may encounter issues that can be tackled differently, and if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that although technology can support our day-to-day operations, nothing will replace face-to-face interactions particularly when tackling issues or discovering different ways of doing things.

Building rapport

People do business with people, and relationships need to be nurtured. This requires time to continuously catch-up and realign with partners at the other side of the line.  Most times this involves ‘business talk’ but not all the time, as social interactions enable you to understand the person you’re dealing with together with their value system, which is sure to come in handy down the line.

Mckinsley.com states that “it’s important to spend as much time as you can on their (partner’s) turf”, underlining the importance of investing time in communication. The article goes on to state that “30 to 40 percent of partnership meetings are about business; the rest of the time is spent building friendships and trust”

Take your time to choose the right partner

Partners come together to take advantage of complementary capabilities, geographies, and other strengths. “But it is important to understand which partner is best at what. This process must start before the deal is completed—but cannot stop at signing.” (Mckinsley.com)

Relationships do not develop overnight, that’s why ‘dates’ in the ‘dating world’ exists…. business is no different! Jokes apart, the buildup of encounters, meetings and brainstorming sessions before a partnership is forged, sets the tone for the entire duration of the partnership. So, testing the waters and learning along the way is what will ensure this partnership is right for you and your business, whilst also setting the correct foundations prior to moving forward.

Communication is key

The main cause of disagreement is usually misaligned goals, which surface too late due to bad poor communication. This highlights the importance of continuously seeking out opportunities to connect and communicate, to act quickly and avoid failures or losses along the way.

Failing to keep everyone in the loop, is not only cause of frustration but also chips away at morale and trust in the partnership.

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Tips when seeking a Strategic Partnerships

The Ying and Yang – Understanding how your partner and your own business can complement one another in terms of services offered and resource capabilities. How will your synergies come together and achieve more?

Reputation of partner within location of operation & networks – Take the time to understand how your prospective partner is connected within the new territory you seek to internationalise your business, and how their network will enable you to reach the desired growth.

Test the waters –  carry out a proof of concept to suss out the chemistry and dynamics – Although  choosing a strategic partner may take time, it’s good to test the waters and see whether your respective ways of ‘going about business’ are compatible with one another. This ensures that your venture not only looks good on paper but can really work in practical terms.

Let’s help you get there

Nadia Pace has helped numerous companies reap the benefits of teaming up with partners to take their business beyond local shores. Read more about Nadia’s Internationalization services and get in touch!

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