There are three management disciplines which, while not new, have a heightened level of importance for success in the 21st century: Leveraging technology, networking and building strategic alliances.
No doubt you’ve become more proficient with the tech stuff. And who isn’t a better networker today than 10 years ago? But can you say you’ve nailed the partnering thing?
When small businesses come to the end of their resources of people, assets, technology, cash and credit, they have to do something as primordial as when Og asked Gog to hold the chisel while he carved out his new stone invention that looked a lot like a donut. They have to seek alliances.
Answer these questions: Is your business growth hampered by a lack of people, capital or other assets? Would you like to bid on a request-for-proposal (RFP) that has specifications beyond your company’s ability to perform? Are you reluctant to ask a large customer about their future plans for fear that your organization may not be able to step up to the answer? ___(Your lament here)___.
If any of these – or variations thereof – are way too familiar, consider one or more of these three alliance examples, in descending order of formality.
A partner relationship is more formal and typically longer term. Regardless of how it’s structured, in general, all partners have a vested interest in the success of the entire enterprise. Think of two business owners buying a commercial duplex and sharing the space because neither has the cash or credit to swing the deal alone. Most partnerships are best organized with the help of an attorney.
By definition, a sub-contractor becomes a contractual participant you bring in to help fulfill a larger project for which you are the lead vendor. Unlike a partner, a sub expects to get paid for delivery of work or products regardless of how the project turns out.
Here’s an informal strategic alliance example. Let’s say a jeweler, florist and photographer join forces to produce a marketing/advertising campaign for brides that represents all three brands. After the campaign is executed and paid for, the participants may have no further connection.
Before giving up on a project because you don’t have the in-house resources, look around for ways to create alliances that could allow you to take advantage of that opportunity.
If Og the caveman can create an alliance, you can too.
I talked more about the 21st century business practice of creating alliances this morning on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. Take a few minutes to listen and leave your best practices on creating strategic alliances.
How good are you at building strategic alliances? with Jim Blasingame
For more information on building alliances to grow your business, click here: Strategic Alliances.