Strategic partnerships is not something that fits into a specific mold and can be recreated several times. A strategic partnership is finding value in another company while being able to provide your own unique value or skillset. A misconception is that international distribution partners are basically the same as a international strategic partner. In most cases, this is not true. A strategic partner is somebody that provides more than just infrastructure. A strategic partner is somebody that complements your own business model and can work in conjunction with you. The possibilities for how a strategic partnership might play out are endless, but the basis for it depends on that both partners are dependent on each other and the act of breaking up would be painful.
This is one element that is absolutely crucial to long term success. For any partnership, there has to be a level of trust before all parties can work together effectively. Spending time, either in person or through teleconferencing, is the easiest way to build that trust. This is the time to adapt to any cultural adjustments or syncing up with their workflow.
The easiest way to build trust in your partnership is to spend time in person with them. If the country is totally foreign to you, make sure you appropriate enough time adjust your new partner and culture. A great way to do this is by having your new partner show you around town and personally introduce you to their customs. This is also a time for you to gather information and prepare your staff with the new changes.
It is important to be able to ascertain a profile of your partner early on. The most straightforward way to do this is by asking as many questions as possible. The larger your information base is on your new partner, the easier it is going to be to anticipate their needs and for you to understand their capabilities.
What is happening in their business that would als help your company? Are these the most effective practices? What are their specific expertise? What is their access to capital. What is the profile for their client base? Key connections? Which marketing channels do they use?What are some challenges they face? Are there any internal or external threats?
Through all this, you should have a good idea as to what your capabilities are. When you are trying to engage in a partnership, your value has to be as promising as your potential partner. You should be able to gauge and take an inventory as to what your side can offer in exchange.
For example, perhaps you have relevant contacts that could help your partner immensely. Or you might have specific knowledge about something or even a potential target market that your partner could find useful. You might find that you have personal that you could make their process more efficient. This is a time that you should collaborate and gather as much research as you can to maximize this strategic partnership. The more avenues of collaboration you can find, the higher chance you give your partnership to succeed in the long run.
As you continue along and build your partnership up, it’s important to continuously evaluate and negotiate over time. Just like any other business venture, it’s important to revisit and reanalyze projects or programs that both companies are taking advantage of. Things are changing fast enough that it makes sense to go back and try maximize any programs that have been lacking attention. The same goes for projects that are no longer effective for either company. Often times these come from changing circumstances that make them either inefficient or irrelevant. This also presents itself with good opportunity to look at new opportunities for collaboration.
This could be a good time to look at purchasing and other financial agreements. This could also include incentive programs for existing employees. This time should really be spent with a discerning eye looking at all current collaboration. For example, you might have been working on digital media between your two companies, but are finding that as it is taking longer, the more out of date the information is becoming. Here you have the options to stop completely or try to pivot the project in a new, more effective position.