The articles in this section discuss high-level issues that relate to the second most important investor category, Business Partners. This group ranks second only to Employee Investors. Their importance is due to the fact that their efforts, along with the company’s efforts, combine to provide a product or service that can be offered to a customer. Without the involvement of business partners, the company’s offering may not be complete, scalable, or in some other way satisfactory. Just as important in our personal lives, finding and selecting a compatible business partner is crucial. The relationship needs to be mutually beneficial over the long-term.
Chapter 5.05 of this collection is totally focused on Business Partners. A number of the articles in that chapter discuss the process of selecting a business partner, understanding goal alignment, and avoiding pitfalls and minimizing risks. Some of the comments in those articles may be discouraging and lead to the conclusion that it is better to avoid partnerships. To the contrary, partnerships are valuable and, in many cases, the only method that can lead to success. All of the articles in this section and in Chapter 5.05 are intended to help the company make better-informed partner decisions and selections.
This section contains four articles that are more focused on Business Partners as investors in the company while the articles in Chapter 5.05 provide more details on the various operational issues associated with partnering. The titles and abstracts of the articles included in this section are listed below.
Business Partner Investor Introduction
The days of total vertical business integration and the do it alone concept of fulfilling customer demand have given away to forming business partner relationships that allow each participant to leverage the other’s core competencies. Partners, by choosing to invest their resources with a company, are essentially choosing to not invest their resources in other activities. They, therefore, should expect and receive an acceptable return on their investment.
Partnering Secret Sauce Ingredients
The success of a partnership is only partially dependent on the actual combined solution between the companies. Some of the underlying characteristics of each company can be far more important. Both potential partners must carefully consider these factors to insure compatibility.
Partnerships: The Beginning, Not the End
The agreement to form a partnership with a larger, more mature company is often viewed as an important milestone that is critical to the growth and perhaps even the survival of the company. To be fair, formalizing an agreement can be significant, but it must be viewed as the beginning of a new way of doing business that must take into account the partner’s needs and desires as well.
Why Are You Interested in Each Other
Partnerships need to be built on trust, not contractual documents. Open and frank discussions as to why each party is interested in pursuing the partnership is critical to meeting each other’s expectations. In most cases, each party will have very different goals. Ideally, the partnership should leverage each party’s strengths and compensate for the other party’s shortcomings.