How to Pick a Good Strategic Partner


With my recent nuptials, it only seemed right to review how to pick a good partner – a good strategic partner in business, that is. A good partner exponentially leverages your reach so that you share resources, gain a competitive advantage, share risk, and ultimately bring more prospects and customers to your doors.

Since this area is rife with risk, here’s a brief checklist on how to pick a good strategic partner:

  1. Pick a Partner with a Complementary Target – A good fit is a business that has the same target, offers a complementary product or service, or shares a geographical region. It should also be a person that you like, trust, and respect.

  2. Agree on the Terms – Before inking the deal, take a moment to agree on start dates, deal stoppers, remuneration for each party, cancellation terms, etc. Remember: the devil is in the details.

  3. Ensure a “Win” for Your Customer – If you are a building contractor, for example, teaming up with a real estate agent is a win for both of you. The same is true for a graphic designer and a printer. However, a tax accountant teaming up with a graphic designer together, makes your customers go “huh?”

  4. Establish a criteria with which to measure your success. I LOVE metrics! Make sure you know at the outset what is the outcome you’re seeking. It could be opt-ins, number of callers, sales, etc. And make it logical and easy for your prospects. Here is one detail that drives me crazy: Making your customer visit 7 different neighborhood stores and get a stamp in order to receive a free gift. Ugh! Too much work without enough benefit.

  5. Put it in Writing – Although it all sounds easy enough, I had miscommunication. So, even without a lawyer, put together a simple Letter of Agreement, or if it’s complicated, splurge on a contract so that there is no mistake.

  6. Delegate Tasks Clearly – Execution will make or break your partnership. Ensure you know who is doing what and when. Each of you are bringing a core competency to the table. Divide and conquer!

What’s your experience with strategic partners? Please share with comments below.

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