I strongly believe in partnership. A partnership could mean your business will have access to new products, reach a new market, block a competitor (through an exclusive contract) or increase customer loyalty. One of the top reasons for businesses to form partnerships is to gain new customers. Businesses love new clientele!
A partnership can come in all shapes and sizes and has the potential to add great value to the businesses involved. The two basic partnerships among many others are strategic partnerships and revenue partnerships. Strategic business partnerships allow small businesses the opportunity to grow their customer base and improve their business. Whereas, a revenue-based partnership could be about saving money or raising money by partnering up with another business who may have a similar mission or goal.
One of the most iconic partnerships that I studied, was between two global brands that brought the world of sports and music together. Back in 2006, Nike CEO Mark Parker and Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled Nike + iPod. In their press release, Parker stated, “The first product developed through this partnership is the Nike + iPod Sport Kit, a wireless system that allows the Nike+ footwear to talk with your iPod® nano to connect you to the ultimate personal running and workout experience”. This dynamic duo took music and sport to a whole new level, delivering far more than just a mutual brand endorsement. For both companies, it had opened new channels to market and introduced new revenue streams. As a result, both Apple and Nike have been able to further develop their following, winning new customers and building loyalty among their existing fans.
Partnerships are one of those things that you must play very smart and strategic, or you could risk it going bad. Being co-entrepreneurs is sharing responsibilities, being flexible and working with partners. Some of the key risks to avoid are:
- Competing with each other (No one wins in the end. NO ONE)
- Don’t be afraid to disagree! What works for one, may not work for another
- Prepare to face these disagreements calmly. There’s going to be a lot of opinions in the mix
- Don’t give up your personal life for the business
Have you ever partnered up with a business? Was it a success or a fail?