Being approached to participate in a
business to business partnership is an exciting opportunity for most small
business owners, especially if the company reaching out is large or well
established in their industry. This type of unsolicited partnership deal is enticing
and has potential to give small businesses immediate market traction. However,
its good idea to take the same steps you would in validating and researching a
prospective partner if you were the one initiating first contact. This can be
difficult due to the desire to grow your business and not miss out on a seemingly
profitable deal. Keep the following tips in mind when being approached for a
business to business partnership.
Take your time.
Remember they approached you. Just because a
business development person is requesting a meeting to discuss a partnership
deal does not mean you have to clear your existing schedule or the deal will immediately
disappear. If the company is sincere in its desire to develop a mutually
beneficial partnership, than you can delay a face to face meeting for a few
days or even a week to research the company in greater detail. There are many
ways to bump a meeting or a phone call out a week without seeming like you are
intentionally delaying. So come up with a valid excuse that fits your schedule
and daily business routine.
Identify the benefits.
It is very important to understand the
areas where your business will benefit from a potential partnership. These types
of business deals are likely to reward your company more so than other types of
deals you would pursue on your own. This can range from access to existing
customer lists to funding for marketing campaigns. A large fortune 500 type
company that is pursuing a business partnership with your smaller firm has
likely identified a very specific competitive advantage that they see from
having a strategic relationship with your company. They will be willing to help
your business be successful however; you must negotiate these benefits prior to
signing the deal while your company still has leverage and the ability to
partner with a competitor.
After identifying what you feel will
benefit your company the most from a business to business partnership with the
inquiring company, make sure to negotiate the deal in your favor the best you
can. While the partnership should always support both companies goals, if youre
on the receiving end of being offered the deal it is wise to negotiate for
better terms regarding revenue shares and other resources. Many small business
owners make the mistake of jumping in too quickly and fail to negotiate favorable
terms with a large company that locks them up from working with competitors
thus restricting future opportunities for growth. Make sure that if youre
going down the path of an exclusive relationship that youve run the numbers
and are satisfied with the income potential of the deal.
Enjoy being on the receiving end of a business
to business partnership request and take your time to fully think through the
opportunity and whether it is the right fit for your company’s strategic growth
plan. There is no reason to rush into a deal that you have not fully vetted or
feel comfortable with. Make sure to negotiate the terms of the deal that best
help fulfill your companys current and future growth needs.
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