Successfully Leverage Business Partnerships and Relationships Ben Smith is a seasoned entrepreneur, executive and marketer with nearly three decades of experience serving across a variety of sectors; building corporate structure; creating global brands; overseeing complex mergers, acquisitions and integrations; and developing highperforming teams. In his current role as CEO of Xcellerate Biomedical Technologies, he is fostering growth and helping bring products and services to market that have a positive impact on health and humanity. xcelleratebio.com
Look for ways to grow the possibilities by Ben Smith
To launch, a business needs time and capital; but to genuinely scale, partnerships become equally as important. This has become a forced reality in a day when competition is now global, not just local. For business leaders, it means mastering and leveraging the resources outside the company as well as within. To lead successfully, knowing what is available, how to ask and how to return value in partnerships is of utmost importance. Often, the most unlikely of partners and even competitors may become the best choice in the long run. Crafting Equity Relationships come in many flavors but are best leveraged when something of value is offered in return. Often, for leaders, crafting that equity proves to be the challenge. Stepping back and being able to bend or alter a traditional policy in return for more value can pay off. Take Jennifer, a CEO for a manufacturing facility that was breaking even for several years. Her expertise was the manufacturing side but not the client-facing or sales side of the business. After many failed attempts at hiring for those roles, a partnership was formed with a group that only builds sales and marketing channels in her space, which happened to be cosmetics. In exchange, this group doubled Jenniferâ€™s sales numbers in the first year, making both companies a nice profit. This was a huge win for the CEO who had not been sure how to scale. So what had the company coming in wanted in exchange?
Its request was not about money but about differentiation in the manufacturing space â€” its leadership wanted smaller minimum quantity order runs. This gave them a competitive advantage to land new clients who may be starting out, and earn their business for life; it also got them the press and exposure to make these statements. It netted out that more than 70 percent of those small runs turned into large repeat orders, resulting in an all-around win. The key to this partnership was not about margins, but access to unique offerings and leveraging each otherâ€™s skillsets. As leaders, we need to step back and look for those unique things we have to give, or other ways to structure a deal to not risk our revenue but, instead, to grow the possibilities. Trusting Transparency Building the relationship takes a lot of transparency. Many leaders enter a relationship very guarded and hide data or access to key employees. To get the most out of the partnership, building trust early in the relationship helps get past the fear of sharing with key employees. Leaders who lack the ability to trust will fail in the partnerships they create before the actual deal is even fully inked. When Dale, CEO of a biologics company, looked at a partner for developing their new go-to-market strategy, he chose the path of sharing with his potential partner everything that had gone wrong, what was not working and where in the past years they had
To lead successfully, knowing what is available, how to ask and how to return value in partnerships is of utmost importance.
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