One of the major challenges facing entrepreneurs and business leaders is finding the right business partners. Great care should be exercised when selecting associates because the right choice can bridge gaps and assist in the execution of your business plan. The wrong choice can harm the reputation and earnings of your company. One should consider the following when forming strategic alliances:
Find Believers in Your Mission
No one will champion your cause like a true believer in your vision, products, and services. Align yourself with those who comprehend the magnitude of what you are doing and will offer wholehearted support to your endeavors. Those who align themselves with you solely for monetary gain will often carry a short-term perspective that will conflict with your long-term business strategy.
Active Partner vs. Passive Partner
Another consideration is: Are you looking for an active or passive interest holder in your business? Do you seek someone who will be involved in the day-to-day management of the company? Many entrepreneurs opt for passive partners to avoid having them encroach on the management of the business. If you elect active partners, it is important that they share the same vision, objectives, and ethics as your associates.
Smart Money vs. Silent Money When pursuing financial partnerships, you have several options. You can choose investors that will solely provide financing, or you can partner with funding sources that will also offer guidance and help in strategic planning. Silent money could be the right choice if you have a seasoned management team and desire total creative control. However, if in both cases you will surrender the same amount of equity, it makes more sense to partner with investors who are well connected and may also offer advisory services.
Complementary Skill Set
Your ideal operations partner will have a complementary skill set. They will strengthen your areas of weakness and allow you to compete effectively. Their affiliation will most importantly shorten, or eliminate altogether, the development time necessary in particular areas. Your resources will not have to be spent acquiring expertise in areas where your partner is already adept.
Your ideal partner should also be in a position to help you form strategic partnerships. This person/organization ought to be able to help you align yourself with people who can assist in growing your business. Strategic partnerships can also bring about needed political affiliations.
Growth and Exit Strategy
A major point of contention for many partners is the company’s growth and exit strategy. Some parties may be content as the owners of a small business, while others seek to franchise or even go public. All parties should be in agreement on how they plan to access the equity of the company, rather it be by salary and dividends, or a substantial liquidity event. The right partner can ease the road and multiply the profits of your business. Whether you’re looking for investment funds, advice, a complementary skill set, or helpful associations, choose this relationship wisely.
Ranked as the #1 Business Motivational Speaker by Ranking.com, William R. Patterson is a three-time award-winning lecturer and international best-selling author who uses his trademark approach, THE BARON SOLUTION™, to coach, train, and motivate business leaders, sales professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors. His breakthrough book, The Baron Son, has been translated around the world and featured in the Forbes Book Club and Black Enterprise. William is an internationally recognized wealth coach, business coach, and media expert who has been a featured guest on over 500 television and radio programs. William's website, BaronSeries.com, is winner of four 2009 Web Awards including: Best Speaker; Best Male Author; Best Business Advice Site; and Best Wealth Building Site. For more information, visit http://www.baronseries.com.