At Whirlwind, we pursue a combination of partnerships and sponsorships. Formally, we are long-term partners of the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) and we currently sponsor Good Beginnings, Green Aid, Toy to the World and Desktop’s Create Design Awards.
Our partnership with the FCA has been an especially valuable relationship as we’ve built our reputation and capabilities within the franchise industry over the past decade. Having a presence at industry events and attending networking opportunities helps us ensure we’re always in touch with industry trends and are able to adapt our service offering as our clients grow and evolve.
As we have experienced, building your business network through partnerships can be a great sales and marketing tool. A cursory examination of any large organisation is likely to reveal a number of local and international partnerships and it is a strategy that can be applied to a business of any size. Following are some basic principles to consider when you are pursuing this strategy for your business.
How a partnership can impact your business
- Deliver superior service to your clients by
providing a network beyond your core business
- Lead generation through referrals from your partners and vice versa
- Partners can be a source of business in of themselves
- Improve brand recognition and reputation by promoting
the partnership and tapping into each others networks
- Collaboration with external businesses can improve internal efficiencies
How to find potential partners
Consider companies that compliment your business, companies with which you currently share a B2B relationship, not-for-profit organisations, membership organisations, there can even be value found in partnering with competitors. Although some partnerships may be an extension of your existing business relationships, finding the right fit isn’t as simple as baiting your line and seeing what bites. A formal agreement should be carefully considered before you get in too deep.
How to determine what partnership is right for your business
Your partnership should be guided by the medium to long-term goals and objectives of your business. Breaking into a new market, expanding your geographic coverage or improving your local area marketing are a few examples of opportunities that could benefit from this strategy.
It is important to consider what value you will provide your partners in return; the relationship must be symbiotic in order to be productive and sustainable. Once you have identified a mutually beneficial opportunity, you will be in a position to deliver a compelling proposal to potential partners.
Maintaining a healthy partnership
Once you’ve found a business that will partner with you, some basic business discipline will provide a strong foundation for your ongoing relationship:
- Communicate openly what your goals and priorities are,
make sure you’re on the same page
- Be honest about what you will be able to deliver,
over promising will lead to disappointment
- Be open about what you expect from the partnership, your partner cannot
meet your expectations if they are unaware of them
- Ensure the terms are realistic, start small and grow the partnership
- Periodically review the partnership to ensure it is still functioning as required
and helping achieve your business goals, change your parameters if necessary
- Get everything in writing
You don’t have to have formal partner agreements to make the most of all B2B interactions, simply applying the above strategies to your current relationships can ensure your work together runs smoothly and the channels of communication are conducive to business growth.
To find out more about Whirlwind’s industry relationships, visit http://www.whirlwindprint.com/about/partners-and-sponsorships