Starting a business is a huge endeavor, and if you do it by yourself, it can be a very lonely one. Few can argue the advantages of having people on your team.
Having a network of people who help you is a huge competitive advantage compared to going it alone.
When you have teammates this list gets much more manageable:
- Sourcing Materials
Not all of us are lucky enough to have the right contacts for business partners, so what is another option? Strategic alliances.
What Is A Strategic Alliance?
It is a formal/semi-formal, ongoing agreement where you and another entity agree to help one another in some manner. Strategic partnerships are a mutually beneficial relationship in which you exchange help with one another. This differs from a Joint Venture in which there is a newly formed entity in which you both have a stake in.
Strategic alliances are beneficial because they allow you to accomplish things with little or no extra investments. As an example: I operate this personal finance website. Let’s say that I know a guy who operates XYZ Financial Software. Him and I could form a strategic alliance in which I promote his software to you, and he links to my articles from within his software.
This allows him to have articles written about his software on a reputable website, without the need of starting his own blog. This affords me the benefit of having my articles tied to a financial software, without needing to develop my own software.
Another example: Let’s say that you operate a Gift Basket business. You could form a strategic partnership with a Bed and Breakfast whereby, they offer your gift baskets as a part of their packages, and you promote their bed and breakfast to others.
There are few limitations to what you can accomplish through a strategic alliance. People enjoy being helped, so if you can bring value to the table for someone else, and they can do it for you, why not?
Strategic alliances can be as formal as a contract or as informal as a verbal agreement with another business owner passing by. Obviously, more legal protections are afforded under contract, but the majority of strategic alliances are those simple conversations that start out “hey, why don’t I help you and you help me.”
A Complimentary Success
Obviously, you’ll want to ally up with businesses that are complimentary in some regard. It wouldn’t be terribly beneficial for me to partner with a children’s toy store. Children won’t be interested in the information that I provide, and my readers aren’t necessarily looking for discounts on toys.
However, an upstart personal finance magazine would be an extremely beneficial strategic alliance as it would allow me to get into the printed media world, and my readers would probably like to have access to a new magazine that they have yet to hear of.
Strategic alliances are a great way to expand your customer base, and share success between two or more separate businesses without needing substantial investments. It is an excellent way to maintain your independence, while still partnering with others for success. If you haven’t tried it before, you may want to consider strategic alliances for your business.