Choosing the best strategic business partners is essentially the process of building an enduring alliance that will help an organization to make up for its shortcomings. The strongest partnership tends to be an alliance in spirit, function, and financial viability. Both companies will typically be able to tap into strengths it does not have, but the other does. A mutually beneficial partnership will effectively balance these elements.
Overall, when choosing strategic business partners it is important that both sides of the partnership are aligned in several key areas. This can include things such as values, mission, and goals. The partners usually must agree with each other on key moral issues and have a compatible ethical structure. It is also important that the partners believe in each other and have respect for their respective ways of doing business. Even if an alliance seems otherwise economically viable, if these elements are not in place a partnership will often fail.
Some of the things that may be important in choosing strategic business partners include access to skill sets, influential people, or certain customer groups. A company with a specialized workforce may be able compliment another business that has better access to supplies or land necessary for market expansion. In some cases smaller companies may have a desirable product or offering, but need the connections of a more established company to truly make an impact in the market. Some companies may have a product that would appeal to a certain customer base, but need the prestige of a brand that has already penetrated that specific market. A company with an established brand can extend its life by choosing a partner with a fresh product.
Another important factor in choosing strategic business partners is to build alliances for the long term. Determining if a partner will remain dedicated to the alliance primarily depends on clear communication that ensures that the companies align their goals and observation. When considering a partnership, it is advisable to determine what each side wants out of the alliance, including time commitment. It can also be helpful to have similar, if not the same, goals overall, as this will tend to increase cooperation between the partners and thus increase the likelihood of a long-term partnership. Learning about the potential partner and observing things such as commitment to previous partnerships or projects, overall reliability, and the general health of the business can also help in making a decision.