A strategic alliance between your business and another entity can be essential, and these are relationships/partnerships that complement or enhance your business. In an effective partnership, each party can provide value to the other, both strategically and financially — as well as to one another’s audience or tribe.
Regarding strategic partnerships, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is it congruent with your brand?
Does your potential partnership confuse and alienate your audience or intrigue your audience? Your brand will be tied to this other brand, and your audience will see you through that lens. Is there a natural alignment and fit?
- Have we found product market fit?
If you haven’t found product market fit, you should not yet be looking at partnering with other companies. Figuring out who your customer is and what your company’s value proposition is must be done before looking to merge forces with someone else. If you skip over this step, it’ll be easy for your own company to be forgotten and for the partnership to quickly fall apart.
Figuring out how to keep your company’s value proposition as it partners with another company is tough enough. Trying to build a strategic partnership where you don’t have product market fit will likely be a complete disaster.
- Do we enjoy working with the other company? Is it fun?
Too many partnerships are based off of product offerings, and not enough on cultures. When companies look to buy other companies, you’d be surprised how much culture plays a role in those decisions. This is due to the fact that if the companies don’t gel together, it will be nearly impossible to leverage that partnership to be a win-win situation.
So before teaming up, make sure you and your team gets along with the other company. Can you grab beers with them at a bar and talk for a couple of hours without pulling your hair out? Are they the type of people you want to be working late with in the office? Do they have the same values that you do? These questions are fundamental in figuring out if you both have the right cultures that are ready to partner up.
- Do we know why we’re partnering?
Figuring out the reason to partner is something that’s often overlooked. A young company will see an established brand and think, “Let’s just partner and figure the rest out later.”
Unfortunately, many times this can lead to complete chaos. The larger company who knows exactly what they need will win every time in this situation. Right from the start, they’ll begin implementing new strategies that will force the other partner to go off its chosen course.
To avoid a situation like this, make sure you write out why a partnership makes sense before you go into one. Have everything outlined and a game plan ready to go. If you can’t pinpoint a reason to partner, you probably shouldn’t do it. Period.
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