8 Tips To Find The Best Fit Partner (Pt.1)

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Finding the best fit partner to build a business is not easy - especially taking into account the time you'll spend together. So use the tips below & choose wisely!

Every business has at its disposal possible number of ways by which it can expand and grow to its full potential. That leaves little room for excuse for business owners seeking to grow their business. One of the best ways to pursue this is to seek strategic lasting partnerships and collaborations.

Partnering, although not new, has become increasingly popular and necessary as businesses work to access strategic markets, usually beyond their immediate reach or offering, to grow and expand the business, both locally and internationally. Due to the ease in going into partnerships, as well as its increasing benefits, forming partnerships is potentially one of the most preferred options for expansion among SMEs. Not all however, go into partnership for the same reasons, neither do they go after the same kinds of partnerships.

A business can partner with:

  • complimentary businesses
  • customers
  • suppliers
  • agents or
  • competitors.

From the last point for instance, one might be wondering, ‘what do you mean by partnering with a competitor?’ The answer is that, business in the 21st century has evolved and organisations are always seeking for strategic ways to compete effectively on the global stage, even if it means partnering with competitors to take advantage of each other’s strengths. Such partnerships can effectively work together to access larger size markets or better position themselves to compete with other players in the industry. A lot of such partnerships help a business to potentially compete more effectively with other bigger players in the industry, sector or global market.

Any good partnership should essentially result in a win-win situation for both parties. It is a MUST, however, to clearly set out the object of the partnership and have a written agreement in place. This type of agreement should also include understanding and agreeing on whether the partnership is for a specific product line, service, project, time frame, geographical region or for the working together of two whole businesses for the foreseeable future.

The challenge has always been how to find the right partner, which can be a tough call, and can be a make or break situation for any business. Thus the need to do your best to land the best partner.
In these two part posts, I will show you a few simple pointers to look to, when considering how to evaluate who the right fit will be to partner with.

1. Both Parties Must Be Seeking A Partnership

Although it may not always be the case that both partners may be on the lookout at the same time. Even if the other party may not have been on the hunt for such a partnership relationship, by the time you meet and discuss the potential benefits and what you have in mind, they must come round to be fully set to commit to it. It is important to consider their desire for such a venture and the value they place on the potential benefits of coming together. When a partner is not wholly committed to the venture, they may potentially back out at the least hurdle or even drag the process along the way.

2. A Good Partner Must Share In Your Values, Vision & Drive

Often times we get excited about the coming together and overlook what the core drivers are, for the parties and how they want to get ‘there’ – the ultimate goal or vision. Conflicting values are recipe for disaster from the onset. Every business has or must have its core values or set of principles by which it operates. Otherwise it is set for a lack of purpose. A partnership stands to thrive if the partners share in the same core values and principles for growth and business success.

3. Right Skill Set And Experience

It is important that the potential partner has the skill set and experience that will complement yours. That is simply because, the more complimentary skill sets both can bring to the business the easier it will be to grow the business and achieve your goals. For instance, if you are a good designer (clothes, software, etc.) and weak at marketing, you could look for a marketing company (clothing retailer or software marketing company, respectively) to partner with. This will potentially enable you to focus on what you are good at and concentrate on improving on your products or area of expertise, whilst your partner concentrates on the marketing aspect of the business.

4. Synergy

You must seek for a partnership where the resultant synergy will far more outweigh the two businesses put together. A good partnership should potentially yield more returns or benefits exceeding the combined individual outputs of both parties. What am I saying? To use turnover and profits as an example to illustrate this point. Let’s assume company A with turnover of £2.5 million and profits of £1 million, is to partner with company B with turnover of £1.5 million and profit of £400,000. On coming together, all things being equal, they should be potentially turning over £5 million with profits of £2.6 million or more, annually.

I hope that the above points highlight key factors to consider when seeking for partnerships out there, as you seek to grow and expand your business. In part II of this post, I will share the rest of the pointers to help you land the right partnership in growing a successful business.



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