It is hard to believe 2019 is over and in the past - where has the time gone?! As we look ahead to our 2020 business plans, let me encourage you to review your current partnerships and consider new ones to grow your business.
What is the definition of a partner? An individual who joins with other individuals (partners) in an arrangement (partnership) where gains and losses, risks, and rewards are shared among them. (Source: businessdiectonary.com).
This is the standard definition, but there is much more to a partnership. Here is my definition. Individual distributors/resellers working closely together with other manufacturers/vendors on projects or opportunities, with mutual trust, collaboration, shared information, and knowledge on all fronts, to grow our businesses together and add profit to the bottom line – creating a win-win-win situation. Team: Distributor – Manufacturer – End user.
Why is this important? We hear stories of the past in our print industry where someone did you wrong during a critical opportunity when a good partnership was needed. Trust and respect were not in the story. As years have gone by, manufacturers and distributors have created much stronger and more valuable partnerships that have led to big wins for everyone, including the end users. Our industry has learned it takes two to win and gain big accounts – manufacturers and distributors. We have learned each party has value, and we need to be transparent to the end customer.
Going into 2020, we must change our views on partnership. Our future, your future, and your customer’s future depend on strong and valuable partnerships. Everyone wants to be a success and grow their business; therefore, we must work as a team to make sure this happens. The future….1 year, five years, or even 10 years down the road….where will you be? Where will your business be? What will your customers look like? You will be stronger and more substantial if you pick quality strategic partners to enhance your business and expand your offers.
So, how do you pick the best partners for your business plan? Consider these ideas.
The Seven Building Blocks of strong partners: trust, mutual understanding, resource commitment, shared information, mutual risk & profits, and ongoing approach. It takes all of these to be a worthwhile partner. Look at the existing companies you do business with today. Start asking questions and educating yourself on their products, services, and their companies’ history. Then create a list of all of your current accounts/customers that you would like to see growth from in 2020. Start matching up our business connections to your accounts. Start asking for referrals and watching your businesses grow.
How to get started? This is the easy part…just try something. Anything. Talk to your teams, talk to customers, and talk to your manufacturers. Put a plan together. It might be joint calls, co-branded marketing collateral, more education on products and services, or maybe just reading through some case studies to prompt ideas for new accounts.
Don’t let old stories or old ideas keep you from trying new things, like adding opportunities where good partners are needed. This year, be like Buzz lightyear and think big - to infinity and beyond! I would love to have a conversation with you about strategic partnerships. Give me a call or email me to take your next step.
800-821-4021 ext. 5509