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So you’ve figured out who you’re helping, what value you’re going to be offering them, and what channels you’ll use to reach them.
But no one can do this alone – you’re going to need partnerships with certain people and companies.
Today’s Business Challenge: Determining who are those people or businesses that you’ll be working with. Strategic partnerships are also a key component of the business model canvas.
Business Can’t Be Done Alone
Even if you think you can run your business by yourself and are willing to take on the added stress and loneliness of that situation, you might be kidding yourself when you realize just how many kinds of partners there are.
Why Are Partnerships Important?
There are many reasons why businesses might partner together, but here are some of the main ones:
- Easier to get more customers
- Someone who understands the business and can refer you clients (and vice versa)
- A partner during hard times
- Two minds coming together and creating better products and services
- You won’t have to fulfill every piece of your product or service
A partnership can be as easy as referring customers to each other. But it can be as complicated as two companies coming together and creating a third brand because they see a market need and each can contribute a critical piece of that new pie.
Without partnerships, you’re like to miss important market swings or at the very least be late to the game in getting someone on the market.
Two minds are almost always better than one when it comes to big ideas. When you have someone to throw ideas around with, and how this thing could be beneficial for both of you, new ideas start to emerge.
I almost liken this a mastermind group. People of all backgrounds can come together and still be able to help the others with their business, even though they have very little “insider” information. Sometimes having that outside person to poke holes in your ideas can be the difference between the success of something and its failure.
Types of Partnerships
There are a few types of partnerships that you can use to come up with ideas as well.
Not to be confused with the allies you learned about in history class, this is an alliance between non-competing businesses. It can be argued that most businesses aren’t competing because there is enough market share to go around, but in this case, we are referring to businesses who work in different channels.
Almost the complete opposite of strategic alliances, coopetition is a partnership between competitors. I feel like this could also be an example of when two smaller companies join forces to weed out the new big guy in town.
Joint ventures can be extremely profitable and valuable for the customer when done properly. They could be an entirely new business opportunity, but I’ve also seen these done on a more one-off basis.
An online entrepreneur, let’s call her Susie, builds a course about gardening, but she doesn’t have a large audience to reach as many people as she wants to. She reaches out to John, who has a huge gardening audience that would be well-suited for the course, and John doesn’t have a course of his own to sell.
Susie and John create a joint venture webinar where Susie will teach John’s audience and then pitch them on the course at the end. John and Susie split the sales from that webinar since both have put in an enormous amount of work.
These types of strategic partnerships are just as they sound: between a buyer and supplier. They ensure you have a reliable place to get your supplies from and for the supplier, they have ongoing, reliable income from you for the creation of those supplies.
My Example: Partnerships Example for Event Marketing
In my example, I’m targeting event and conference creators to help with their marketing strategy. Personally, I know how to run Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and do some foundational SEO. Some partnerships I might want to look for are:
- Web Designers – to help with the work. These could be contractors I hire to help or even just partner with an agency to get the work done.
- Copywriters – I can write a few lines of ad copy, but when sales pages need to be filled, it’s much more challenging task.
- Event Photographers/Videographers – I can send them leads and vice versa.
- Regular Speakers – Speakers tend to know the people running the show, so why not partner with them and maybe help them land some speaking gigs as well.
- Conference Venues – getting to know some of those folks who book the event spaces would be highly beneficial…for both of us.
- Sponsors who frequent conferences – same as the speakers point above
These are just a few I can think of off the top of my head, but both can be wildly beneficial for both parties.
Who are your key partnerships going to be with?