Monday, December 9th, 2019

What You Need to Know to Maximize Strategic Alliances

By Karen Dodd on Nov 22 2010 • Filed under New Clients by Design

As I said in my previous blog post, strategic alliances, otherwise known as "joint ventures," (JV's) can be both rewarding and profitable, provided you put some simple but critical things in place.

I have been (unexpectedly) delighted at how much fun I've had and how much value I can bring to my clients, by collaborating with other entrepreneurs who serve the same market as I do but who don’t do exactly what I do. The best part is that a good partner can make you look like a hero for bringing them and their expertise to your "list" (your database). It's like bringing someone home to dinner that your parents actually like!

Unfortunately, I've also heard some of the horror stories of JV's that don't  go well and that can destroy your credibility in a heartbeat. For that reason, in addition to taking the time to observe and get to know your potential joint venture partners, there are some guidelines that I strongly recommend adhering to.

Here are a few things to make sure you end up with a win/win for both parties:

  1. Write down your goals and desired outcome of engaging in a joint venture. Is it to get more people on your list? To make more money from an additional income stream? Or to gain credibility and/or visibility?
     
  2. Analyze your target market (clients as well as JV partner) and determine the best time to contact them.
     
  3. Make sure that your potential partners have the same client base as you do and be aware of who else your clients are buying from.
     
  4. Decide what your format will be. Will you be sharing the profits, sending clients to each other, or co-producing an event?
     
  5. Decide what to offer clients of your JV partner. What you offer needs to be exclusive and of high value. It is usually in the form of discounts, bonus gifts and/or membership benefits that they wouldn't get unless they were in your partner's database.
     
  6. Know your budget and control costs from the beginning. List every single item that will be involved, including staff, promotion, tracking sales, etc.
     
  7. Create an action plan and implement it. Be 100% crystal clear on what you each agree to do for the other in promoting within your respective databases prior to the joint venture (and have it in writing).

I have recently heard of a situation where numerous partners engaged in a "telesummit" (a series of teleseminars conducted over a number of weeks). Everyone said they would cross-promote in their newsletters and via solo mailings. However, once the partners who got to do their teleseminars at the beginning had done theirs, they no longer had the inclination or the time to promote those who came after them.

This type of behavior is disingenuous at best, but very short-sighted at worst. It didn't take long for word to get around amongst their industry and they foolishly missed the opportunity to benefit in the rewards that would have come from the ongoing group synergy.

Only after you have these seven things done should you approach your potential JV partner and open the door for discussion. In other words, do your homework first. I like to reach out by sending an email and then scheduling a phone call to discuss what I have in mind. That way, you're not "blind-siding" your potential partner and it gives them a little time to digest what you're proposing.

Next, you're ready to hold meetings with your desired JV partner. Be sure to keep your eyes open to whether you fit with each other's markets, as well as that you have good chemistry. If you feel anything isn't right, trust your instincts. Also, don't be afraid of (graciously) saying "no" when you are approached to JV. Even if it is the right person, it may not be the right time for you. Knowing and honoring that is the right thing for both of you.

Once you've decided that you are indeed right for each other, make sure that you have a written agreement between you. Usually, you'll know if your partner has more experience than you, in which case I'd offer to use their agreement. If they've never done this type of thing before, then you want to take the lead and provide an agreement for them to sign. Personally, I do not insist on legally documented agreements but I do make sure everything is in writing and that it clearly spells out all the rules.

Then…Test, Tweak and Track for best results, before you do it again.

Finally, as with everything in life: be prepared for rudeness from those who don't understand the rules. That's just the way it is, so bless them and let them go. You will derive far more rewards from the long-term relationships, benefits for your tribe and yes, even additional income if you do it with grace and integrity. But most of all, have FUN in your collaborative efforts. I have met the most amazing women and learned the most amazing things by engaging in joint ventures.

Until next time, remember to market authentically and attract New Clients By Design!


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