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Four steps to an effective strategic partnership plan
By Brenda Thomson
It is well known that one of the most effective ways for small businesses to grow is through the use of strategic alliances and joint ventures. But how do you create strategic alliances that achieve the results you are looking for?
Here’s a handy process to implement a strategic alliance plan that works.
Like any good plan you need to start with the end in mind. What is it you are trying to achieve? What are your business goals and objectives?
Don’t think about alliances at this stage… think about your business objectives. Make sure that you have clear business goals and targets for the coming year.
Once you know your goals and objectives you can start to think about how strategic alliances and joint ventures may be able to help you achieve your goals faster, easier, more effectively or at less cost.
Once you are clear on WHY you can start to focus on WHO.
Who can help you achieve your goals and objectives? This may be someone or a group of people in specific professions, a specific organisation or even a specific person.
After WHO comes WHAT.
What are you going to do together? And this links directly back to WHY. If you are really clear on your goals and objectives it makes it easy to figure out what you need to do.
After all if your business goals relate to generating more leads then you will want to implement a strategy that will generate more leads. If your business goals are associated with reducing costs then you will need to focus on strategies that can help you reduce costs.
4. HOW AND WHEN
Once you have WHAT worked out you can start to work out your implementation plan. Exactly HOW your chosen strategy is going to work and of course time frames. Here are some things to consider:
1. Time frames
What are the time frames surrounding the project? Detail agreed completion dates for any stages in the implementation of the project (who will do what and by when). Detail any limitations on the ongoing nature of the project. Will the strategy run for a specific period of time? When will it start and end? Or will the strategy run indefinitely? If so when will you review and what would cause the strategy to terminate?
2. Financial Considerations
Does your strategy involve money – either outgoing or incoming? Are there things which need to be paid for to implement the strategy? How will the project be funded? If funding will be reimbursed from profits later, how will this be managed? If the anticipated profits do not eventuate will there be any adjustments to the initial expenditure? (I.e. if one party made the initial investment will they be recompensed in part or full by the other party?) Does your strategy involve payments from clients or customers? Who will receive the money and how will it be accounted for and disbursed?
3. Database ownership and protection
Does your strategy involve databases of leads or customers? Will you be sending information to each other’s existing databases? How will the information be shared and managed? Is your strategy designed to grow BOTH your databases? Who will collect the new leads? How will they be distributed and how will their opt-ins be managed? In the event that the alliance come to an end – who will own any new database collected as a part of the alliance?
4. Investment of time and labour
Will the strategy involve significant amounts of time/labour investment from either or both parties? How will you measure this? Will either or both parties be recompensed for their time? If so how and when?
5, Managing Contra Deals
If your proposed alliance strategy involves a contra deal of some sort what are the agreed values of each party’s contribution to the deal? In the event of a dispute how will this value be measured?
6. Managing Clients and Customers
What will be the nature (if any) of the relationship between each party to the agreement and the other party’s existing clients/customers? If the strategy is designed to generate new clients/customers for both parties how will this ongoing relationship be managed?
7. Managing Intellectual Property
If the proposed strategy involves the development of new products, services or intellectual property of any sort who will own the rights during and after the end of the agreement? If the rights will continue to be co-owned after the life of the project how will this be managed?
8. Managing Liabilities
Are there any potential risks or liabilities involved in the strategy? If so what are these and how will responsibility for them be managed? If these risks could continue after the life of strategy or project, how will this be managed?
10. Exit Strategy
If either party wants to end the strategy before the agreed completion date or before implementation is finalized how will this be managed? If the project or strategy has an indefinite life what are the factors which can cause the strategy to end and how will this be managed?
More articles about Strategic Partnerships and JVs
The 10 things you absolutely MUST know about creating strategic partnerships and joint ventures (JVs)
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Seven steps to identifying the perfect strategic partners for your business
Strategic Partnership and JV Checklist
101 JV ideas
CEO and Founder, Synergy48 Group
Brenda has an honours degree in organizational psychology and a Graduate Certificate in training and development and she is an experienced trainer, facilitator and counsellor. She is a firm believer in mutual collaboration combined with a practical, hands on tools, strategies and systems as the most effective way to achieve real results in business.
Brenda has over 20 years of experience training in communication, team work, time management, productivity, organisation and strategic planning in large organisations. She is also the developer of the Business Benchmarking Toolkit used by Synergy48 Group members and clients to identify areas for improvement in their business processes.
Brenda is a sought after mentor, speaker and trainer in the areas of strategic partnerships and networking with a difference. She is passionate about actively giving back to the community. In addition to donating her speaking fees and a proportion of every Synergy48 Group membership to provide microfinance to help women in Malawi to start their own businesses, Brenda has climbed the Himalayas to raise money for Kids Help Line and helped lay a pipeline to supply water to a remote village in Tanzania.