As a small business owner you need to be able to develop your business skills fast. In fact, your range of skills needs to develop faster than your business in order for your business to be profitable. You are already struggling to find enough hours in the day so how can you develop your business when you don’t have time to learn the skills you need.
The obvious answer of course is to outsource the work that you don’t feel qualified to do but as a small business owner, can you afford to do this? Probably not.
This is where partnerships, or strategic alliances, can play a major role in making use of your skills and talents while getting around your weaknesses. So what is a strategic alliance? Well, according to Wikipedia
“A Strategic Alliance is a relationship between two or more parties to pursue a set of agreed upon goals or to meet a critical business need while remaining independent organizations.
Partners may provide the strategic alliance with resources such as products, distribution channels, manufacturing capability, project funding, capital equipment, knowledge, expertise, or intellectual property. The alliance is a cooperation or collaboration
which aims for a synergy where each partner hopes that the benefits from the alliance will be greater than those
from individual efforts”.
The best way to explain this is by example and what better example than my own.
You all know from my website and the information contained in the ‘about me’ page on my blog that I am a qualified and experienced career coach and small business consultant and despite the fact that I am constantly looking to improve
my skills, I know that I have my weaknesses and areas of work that I am not so keen to do (all those things that are constantly being put to the bottom of my to-do list in favour of the tasks I enjoy doing!). This is why Jane Stephenson and I work so closely together. We both have our own businesses yet we help each other out at no financial cost – basically we utilize each other’s
strengths with the end result being 1+1=3!
And that’s exactly when you should look to form an alliance with someone outside your business, when the answer to 1+1 is greater than 3.
Jane and I are now developing our strategic alliance by creating a new venture, ‘Two Motivating Minds’, because we know that by working together we can build something bigger than we can alone.
Developing a strategic alliance can also be a great way reduce your marketing costs and yet still get access to more potential clients perhaps by way of a referral system (a great tool to use if marketing is not your strong point!). For example, an independent sports masseur might develop a strategic alliance with a fitness coach where both parties would promote the services of the other.
So instead of stressing out over how to develop your business skills and feeling that you have to do everything in your business by yourself, start looking for people with whom you could develop a strategic alliance – and so long as the end result is 1+1=3, you will both benefit from it.
And don’t forget to send me your strategic alliance success stories.