Partnerships are a way to expand your current offerings into new areas that support your core sales. Interestingly, with the tougher economy, most companies are quite open to creative approaches to working together.
Of course giving a piece of your business away often seems questionable in good times, much less bad. The tricky part is the cost of doing it yourself – and the potential for lower sales than you need to support a new product or service. Worse still, there is the risk of unhappy customers due to high cost, less than perfect implementation and slow turnaround. These can easily jeopardize your business relationship with them.
Of course you can never offer a product or service that your customer’s are requesting, but then you are forcing them to look for another vendor — a vendor that will probably try to undermine your relationship and take the rest of the business.
To me, it seems that the best option is to partner with a product or service provider that has the ability to deliver the system as specified — and as part of the relationship, you each agree that you won’t come after the rest of each others business. You each focus on your strengths, and are able to exchange customer leads back and forth as they come in.
So, if you are thinking about how you can refresh your business and give your customers another reason to buy from you, this may be a good time to step back and assess what your strengths truly are. Then, determine if the most efficient and cost-effective way to satisfy your customers is to continue to develop needed skills in-house, or expand or enter new markets through partnerships. With the slowdown of business today, it’s time well spent that can add more to the bottom line in a shrinking market and broaden your horizons when businesses loosen their purse strings.