To a cowboy, “Howdy, pardner,” means “Hi, friend.” To a tennis player, partner means playmate for doubles. In committed personal relationships, partner means life-mate.
Partner has multiple meanings in business, too. You may lead or work for a company owned by people who formed a legal partnership. Many firms, including Hollister Creative, strive to become partners, not merely vendors, to their clients.
So when we tell you that developing partner relationships with other companies is a proven business-building strategy, we first have to define partner.
To build your business, three types of partners can be beneficial:
Non-competing businesspeople get to know each other well and look for opportunities to refer business to one another. This can be especially effective if the referral partners sell different products or services to the same types of customers.
To be “full-service” and offer clients “one-stop shopping,” a business takes on work it can’t fulfill in-house and subcontracts that work to another business. When this is seamless, it is a win-win-win for the customer, full-service business and subcontractor.
Two companies agree to help each other succeed by leveraging their combined expertise, capabilities, resources and relationships. This works best when it provides competitive advantages to both companies and clear benefits to the customers.
Hollister Creative has had partners of all three types. Over the past year, we worked closely with strategic partner Allied Pixel on an innovative plan that blends those three types and takes the partnership concept to a whole new level.
The idea grew out of a simple observation: Clients benefit when Hollister Creative and Allied Pixel combine forces to design and develop websites that have strong written and video content. Wouldn’t clients benefit even more if we combined forces with additional specialized small businesses to offer the full gamut of marketing communications services?
The result is the MarCom Alliance. The owners of Hollister Creative and Allied Pixel formed an LLC. As the managing partners, they now have a legal relationship, which just formalizes their previous handshake relationship.
In a highly selective way, the managing partners have been onboarding strategic partners who, like themselves, own and lead well-established, best-in-class marketing specialty businesses. Importantly, the partner firms have a compatible vision and culture. Their owners sign a contract agreeing to certain terms, including their willingness to share knowledge at educational events presented by the MarCom Alliance.
Learn from the Alliance partners how to improve engagement with the prospects and customers of your business, education or nonprofit organization. Register to attend one of the Engagement Road Show events on October 21 at The Main Line Chamber of Commerce or October 28 at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.