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How to Approach a Company to Propose a Partnership

in Strategic Alliances

Any business partnership involves the exchange of resources. Every business lacks resources that they need, particularly startup businesses. At the same time almost every business has something that they can offer, whether that’s expertise, intellectual rights, or access to their customer base.

Follow our 5 step process on how to approach companies to propose a partnership:

Identify the resources you don’t have but need – these could be anything from new customers, new products, more extensive distribution channels, expertise, capital, or increased production capacity.

Identify who has what you need – build a list of businesses that can provide the resources that you need.

Decide on what you can offer potential partners – there’s no point approaching businesses to propose a strategic alliance if you can’t offer them anything in return. In general, all businesses are responsive to offers which have the potential to increase their customer base.

Select the companies that have what you need – narrow down your original list to those businesses that you can help in return for providing what you need.

Target the decision maker – sending an initial email to companies outlining your proposition is fine but the chances are that it will be swallowed up along with the rest of the email clutter. To make progress you have to reach the decision maker, most likely the marketing director or manager if it’s a larger organisation. With a clear proposition already in place as to how the partnership can benefit them, once you have their attention you’re almost there.

One of the biggest problems of strategic partnerships is the lack of trust between the two parties – each business is always worried that they’re getting the raw end of the deal. To try to avoid this try to make the deal as transparent as possible.

A formal agreement should always be drawn up, with the agreement including details of the various goals, intermediary targets, and review dates to assess the success of the partnership.

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