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Strategic partnering can take on a number of forms, ranging from the co-location of two different but somehow related retail firms to working with a partner to market each other’s services to the existing client bases of each partner. When considering the creation of some sort of strategic business partnering arrangement, it is important that all parties concerned define why the partnership would be advantageous for everyone, what possible drawbacks could be involved, how resources will be allocated to the effort, and which processes will be put into place in order to measure the success of the effort.
Before entering into any strategic partnering arrangement, it is important to identify both the benefits and the potential risks that are involved. Here, the idea is to set reasonable expectations for the venture, making sure all partners are aware of what could happen as the result of the pairing. Looking closely at the potential gains as well as the possible losses from the arrangement will often make it clear if the benefits outweigh the liabilities, and may even shed some light on how the partners can work together to accentuate the gains while minimizing the losses.
Resource allocation is also very important with strategic partnering. Clearly defining which assets — in the form of human and other capital — will be made available to support the effort makes it much easier to give form and substance to the arrangement. It also can serve as a benchmark for the level of commitment that each partner is willing to extend. Unless each partner is willing to commit a reasonable amount of resources to the effort, the partnership is likely to produce little to no rewards for anyone involved.
Defining the policies and procedures that will shape the strategic partnering is also very important. For example, if a conference call bureau pairs with a fax broadcasting service with the intent of recommending the services of each to their respective client bases, specifics about how the sales and customer support teams in both companies will work on together to achieve this goal must be defined. This involves not only how those service offerings are represented to the clients, but also how the orders from clients for those services are processed. Even issues such as how the billing for services rendered is managed and how the collected revenue is shared between the partners must be defined up front if the strategic partnering arrangement is to work.
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