Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"How to Handle Business Effectively"

Strategic Partnerships Are Like Marriage, How to choose them for Greater Success

You might not know it, but strategic partnerships abound. Think about your own life. Are you married? Committed to a significant other? If so, you are living in a form of a strategic partnership. Both individuals bring something to the relationship that the other values and sees as being beneficial. It's similar in business. A strategic partnership should be a relationship in which both parties bring something to the relationship that each considers a valuable asset.

When you decide you're ready to take the leap into a strategic relationship, contact your potential strategic partner and go out for a brainstorming session. Decide if you think the relationship will benefit both of you and how. Spell out how each of you thinks the relationship will work, and who is responsible for doing what and when. Strategic partnerships can become a source of discontent if things are not clearly outlined in the beginning. Sometimes, there are people who say they're looking for a strategic partnership, but they're really only in it for what they can get out of it.

A strategic partnership is just that ' a partnership in which each party brings something to the table and is willing to work to make sure the other partner is satisfied in the relationship. A strategic partnership can either be like a great marriage or a marriage gone badly; either way, it will take work and a commitment on the part of each business involved.

Just like you don't want to rush into marriage, you probably don't want to rush into a strategic partnership. Date for a while. Try a couple of projects before you commit to a long-term relationship. Make sure the other party is as committed to the relationship as you are and is willing to do their share. The great thing about a strategic partnership is that, hopefully, you'll be partnering with someone who has a different set of strengths than you do. Learning to capitalize on each other's strengths and minimize each other's weaknesses is one of the reasons strategic partnerships are so valuable. Like a marriage, you can learn to work together when you've found the right strategic partner.

Be creative when you think about potential strategic partnerships. Do you do pedicures? How about partnering with a person who sells sandals or women's clothing? Are you a make up artist? How about partnering with an image consultant? Or having the image consultant partner with a tailor? One cosmetic consultant creatively partnered with a travel agent because she had a product line that would take a normal bag of makeup and reduce it to 4 purse size pieces for the woman who traveled. There are no limits to strategic partner opportunities when you begin to think about who touches a market that is similar to yours.

As in any relationship, you may hit a few bumps in the road, but if you've done your homework and chosen someone who is like-minded in their philosophy, you will be able to weather the storm and make your partnership work for you.

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