May I Have This Dance? Partnering Possibilities Part I

At our January meeting,  a member of my CEO forum told the group that partnering is high on her list for 2010.  She’s decided that the right partnership vehicle will propel her to this year’s  financial goal.

Pam is a market research specialist,  with solid clients in the life sciences industry.  She’d like to have more presence in high tech,  but needs a way to get there.   Pam is acquainted with another marketing specialist who has a good roster of high tech clients.  The two are now in early stage partnership exploration talks.  Maybe they can figure out a  way to team up and increase traction in both industries?

As luck would have it,  Pam has learned of an upcoming conference that will address partnership,  joint venture and collaboration options,  strategies and methods to make the arrangement beneficial to all parties,  including clients.   She plans to attend.

Very soon,  I plan to approach Pam about the possibility of adding early stage product and market development for life sciences products to her array of services.  Could this give her yet another useful competitive advantage?  I will first visit her website and confirm that she does not already have that base covered.  Then I will ask if she feels that addressing the prospects for early stage products might be a good fit for her business and interest level.

If Pam gives the go-ahead,  I will introduce her to Regina, who guides biotech, medical device and pharmaceutical companies as they sort through which of their exciting newly patented  products has the best potential for success.

So you see,  a form of mergers (and even acquisitions) can apply to Freelancers and small business owners. This dance is not only for the Fortune 1000.  In fact,   many of us have done this for years.  General contractors often form partnerships or joint ventures with real estate developers and structural engineers when they come together to work on one building project or several.

Event planners (my first business venture, BTW) must collaborate with caterers,  florists, limo companies,  photographers, etc.  in order to pull together a project.   Over time,  one develops a list of preferred vendors for these services.   Sometimes,   the parties will join forces and form a legal partnership.  Wedding event specialists and bridal shops are known for this practice.

Teaming up with someone who has complementary business skills can open many doors and can be an excellent way to gain market share and opportunities to work within industries where one has not gone before.   It is possible to greatly enhance your company’s appeal to current and potential clients.

More on partnerships next week,


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