WHY YOU NEED A STRATEGIC ALLIANCE
A strategic alliance (also see strategic partnership) is an agreement between two or more parties to pursue a set of agreed upon objectives needed while remaining independent organizations. A strategic alliance will usually fall short of a legal partnership entity, agency, or corporate affiliate relationship.
This may be one of the most overlooked marketing tools available to small business owners. It has the potential to significantly increase your customer base and thus your bottom line. I define a strategic alliance as an agreement between two business owners who serve the same target market with different products/services. It is a deeper commitment than belonging to a referral organization. The following are a few thoughts on the how and why of forming strategic alliances.
- First and most important, you select your strategic alliance partner based upon your value system. Unlike joining an existing referral network, you are in control as to who you choose.
- An alliance is all about giving and taking. There has to be a high trust level as well as a written agreement. Even though a long term relationship is the goal, there has to be agreed upon ways of terminating the agreement; and the agreement itself should have a termination date which can be renewed by agreement of all parties.
- Detailed steps are needed as to how this partnership will work. This has to include expectations of each party as you both act as an extension of each other’s sales team.
- Communications is the key and I recommend at least a monthly meeting. In the beginning stages, a meeting every other week may be in order.
Some small business owners have more than one strategic alliance and may meet as a group every two weeks or monthly as needed.
This is an overview of an important area of small business growth. It requires a commitment of support. Non-disclosure and non-compete documents may be needed.
Defining your ideal partner and the process of establishing responsibilities will take some time. In other words, don’t expect instant gratification. Like any other good marketing tool it has to be tweaked and used for a period of time to realize the desired results.
Tips & Advice by Nick Petra, CFP – Founder of Strategic Duck and BizQuack
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