Have they got “Skin in the game”?

Stop wasting time with strategic alliances.

Developing strategic alliances in your firm can be one of the best strategies for growing profits stably and consistently. Some people do it without realising; others can’t work out how, or why, even when people approach them to discuss the idea!

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Why would you have a strategic alliance?
What is a strategic alliance in a small business?
What problems can occur while developing a strategic alliance?
Why should I be interested in a strategic alliance for my firm?
My assumption is that you’re interested in getting more leads (if you’re not interested in getting more leads, click here).

If working with another firm, or firms, can help you to get more clients and the effort involved in working with them to get those clients is less than getting them on your own – you should be interested!

What is a strategic alliance in a small business?
It can take many forms, but is simply put – two or more firms working together for their mutual benefit. It could be really simple (and most are), or much more complex including legal agreements.

The plumber completes his work and always recommends a certain electrician to his customers – and vice versa.
The printer who recommends a particular graphic designer (and vice versa)
The marketing company who uses a certain copywriter
The digital marketing agency that extends their offer by using a particular training company
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What problems can occur while developing a strategic alliance?
The overly cautious: People that think saying “try this person, they’re good”, is a warranty making them liable for any problems. You won’t get any leads from this kind of person.
Running before you can walk: Start with small projects, rather than big ones. Eventually you may swap your best clients and jointly work with them, but start with running simple joint workshops. When I say simple, maybe start with small (even free) ones to see how things go.
Not developing sufficient trust with the other party: Every relationship of this sort needs to develop through the certain steps (Heather talks about the 5 levels in “strategically managing relationships part 2”). If you don’t yet trust them as much as you ought to, perhaps there’s something wrong. What level have you got the relationship to, and what actions are needed to move it to the next level – rather than trying to move it up by 2-3 levels in one go. Trust can take time to build, but it doesn’t have to – if you focus on it, rather than something further away (click here to read “3 steps to build trust quicker”).
Not having enough skin in the game: This is a where I’ve seen the most problems occur; one party does lots of work, and the other doesn’t have the same investment in the relationship. This can leave one party feeling very sore.
Where have you seen alliances work well between firms and what were the important steps?