Alliance Partners bring unique strengths to your business. Each partnership can bring support, innovation, resources, and intelligence to your business. With so much on the line, how do you decide who is your best alliance partner?
In any relationship, there is a vetting process which takes place before you commit to the relationship. Business alliances are no different than any other relationship in the vetting process. A young couple begins dating with discovery, exploration, testing, and more. Shouldn’t you be doing the same when you create an alliance? Vet each other’s processes, commitment, expertise and more before engaging in any form of partnership.
Your business has needs. Potential partners have needs. The initial stage of vetting asks: what am I looking for in a business alliance? What are my potential alliance partners looking for? The initial, getting to know you, stages of relationship building are all about asking the right questions.
Discovery is also a legal term. In a legal environment, discovery is the period of time where both sides get to build a case, deposing witnesses and asking each side to reveal evidences. In a similar manner, this part of a business relationship requires getting to know a potential ally. Who they know, what their history is, strengths and weaknesses are all revealed during discovery, if done right.
Just as a couple begins to form after both individuals realize they like similar things, so the next stage of vetting involves the beginning of forming a business alliance. Exploration does not just ask questions, it acts on them.
During this stage of the vetting process, you and your potential business ally have trial runs, community involvement, and networking together. If you are developing marketing alliances, community involvement and networking is an easy way to see how your potential ally works in your community. Find what you are looking for, and explore the ways that the alliance can work.
While exploration involves action, testing actually involves committed acts without a larger commitment to be alliance partners. Just as a dating couple begins to see each other exclusively before becoming engaged or married, so do alliance partners work together before committing.
Supply chain relationships, personality styles, and core values can all interrupt the alliance partnership at this stage. It is extremely important not to skip from exploration to full commitment; business relationships are easier to avoid than to extricate.
Although there are other issues you might need to add to your vetting process, for average businesses, the three stages of the vetting process have set the way to build a partnership. Like all relationships, the partnership will take continued work, continued discovery and testing. Once you commit, your focus must be on the alliance.
The preliminary vetting process may slow down the opening of the relationship, but the effort is worth it.
How do you qualify your alliance partners?
For help with vetting your alliance partners, contact us.