Harnessing the strength and abilities of others is a better strategy for success in business today. A strategic partnership is a relationship between two commercial enterprises to enhance their businesses, usually formalized by one or more business contracts. Both enterprises contribute their strengths in the form of business assets or expertise to make up for the other’s lack of it. Helen Keller puts it better in her quote: Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. It summarises the fact that businesses can scale in innovation and provide solutions to complex challenges when they work together.
During a recent interview at Bloomberg New Economy Forum, Master card’s CEO, Ajay Banga, was asked what his thoughts were about his competition in Asia, his response revealed that though he sees his competitions as threats, more than that, he sees an opportunity to work with them as constructive partners. He sees his job as the creation of an ecosystem that partners with people to reach more people.
As a financial technology company, we share Ajay’s opinion, we recognize that doing it alone may stifle growth, giving the fast-paced nature of our industry. While many organizations may decline any form of partnership with a company that threatens their customer base and profit share, at NOWNOW Nigeria, we see it differently. Our approach is a thoughtfully considered collaboration even with our competition to ensure better experiences for both existing and potential customers, and to ensure increased patronage for our merchants. As a culture, we keep an open mind towards partnership every time.
Many Global brands leveraged on the power of strategic partnership and recorded tremendous success over the years. In 2013, Google partnered with Starbucks to provide Wi-Fi services in more than 7,000 Starbucks stores. The Wi-Fi service was upgraded significantly in speed and quality to improve customers experience. This resulted in a tremendous increase in Starbucks’ customer base and opened up a window for similar partnerships for Google in the future.
Another good example of a strategic partnership was between McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. Since both companies shook hands in 1995, McDonald’s became the world’s leading global foodservice retailer with more than 35000 local restaurants serving nearly 70 million people in more than 100 countries in 2014, while Coca-Cola remains one of the largest beverage company in the world.
It is also important to note here that, while a strategic partnership is key to success in business, a poorly set-up partnership will do a lot of harm to a business. A partnership that will succeed should be built on trust, commitment, collaboration and communication. All parties involved should share the same values needed for the partnership to succeed. Most importantly, the focus of any such partnership should be the customer.
As a strategic partner, you also have access to a new and increased customer base. It opens your business up to new markets and therefore enlarges your relevance in such markets. Product diversification is made easy with strategic partnership. Shared resources and expertise lead to improvement of current products
and the creation of new products useful to both the existing and new market.
The resources to stay competitive in the market and ensure continued growth for your business is often in short supply. Additional Resources and expertise provided by strategic partnership will reduce the risk of your business being stunted in growth or eventually failing. It gives you a shot at out-performing your competition and staying relevant in the market.
With access to new markets, your brand becomes visible to more people. Not just the customers alone, but other brands who might be interested in a collaboration with you. Current customers also benefit from the strength offered by each partner and brand loyalty, therefore, increases.
A good strategic partnership should always provide a win-win situation for all the parties involved — the customers or client, the employees and the partners.