Best Practices: Strategic partnerships

Written by ProfitGuide

A well-conceived alliance can be just the ticket for two companies to achieve together what neither could manage separately. But the respondents to our most recent Best Practices Poll — all of whom have entered into at least one such partnership — cautioned against pitfalls you need to keep an eye out for.

“As a small training and consulting firm, we entered into several partnerships, both business and not-for-profit, in order to provide the best service possible,” wrote one anonymous respondent. “The worst mistake we made was assuming that our partners had the same ethics, understanding of the project and end-result goals as we did. This resulted in a loss of trust, associates we would no longer work with, and a loss of credibility with the client, information and income.

“We learned not to enter into a partnership without first having one or more strategic planning sessions. In those sessions, you need to outline what you’ll present to your client(s), each partner’s responsibilities and expectations, and the individual roles of key people at each partner. Then you should meet with the client(s) together and amend the strategic-partnership agreement if changes are required. Once a plan is established, you need to outline it in a contract and sign it. We found that when we did this preparation, we no longer had any unpredictable surprises.”

Watch for another Best Practices Poll in the next PROFIT-Xtra.

© 2005 Rogers Media Inc.

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com