Strategic Partners

What is a Strategic Partner?

The most accepted definition of a strategic partner is that it’s “a formal or informal agreement between two or more individuals or entities to achieve a common goal”.

Kinds of Strategic Partners

I have found at least five different basic forms a strategic partner can take. These are:

  • Affiliate partner
  • Networking for career purposes
  • Cross-marketing ally
  • Joint Venture
  • Funding ally

(CLICK HERE to see some of the ConnecTheDot Strategic Partners)

Any strategic partner can be:

  • Temporary or permanent
  • Long term, short term, onetime event, trial
  • Vertical (between a vendor & a customer, competitors, two or more businesses) or horizontal (between employees, supervisors, managers, departments)
  • Local or global

Some strategic partners have legal requirements. Those formed to share expenses and joint venture partners certainly should not be even considered without some sort of written agreement. In a joint venture, a new business entity is formed. It requires a legal document to set down how this will be run, who’s in control, and how to handle income, expenses, and liability among other things.

Funding strategic partners are created by agreements with angels or venture capitalists most often. Other potential allies include grant providers, customers, prospects or even the government.

Any marketing partner will need written clarification to make sure everyone understands and agrees. Are you and your ally going to share out of pocket marketing expenses? Who pays what?


All strategic partners share three common elements:

  • Goals — who wants what
  • Responsibilities — who does what
  • Rules — how it’s done (based on business and personal culture and attitudes)

But the perspective of each is different. A strategic partner whose goal is just to find a friend to talk to or to network with has a very personal goal. Cross marketing, shared production expense, and joint venture partners are more business growth focused.

Any strategic partner has expectations. One primary that they all share is reciprocity. The goal of each strategic partner is to add value and worth to each person or entity involved. Not only is “No man an island” but no business can survive alone either.

(CLICK HERE to see some of the ConnecTheDot Strategic Partners)

The Right Strategic Partners

What’s the right strategic partner for you?  The strategic partner that matches:

  • Your goals: either short term or long term.
  • Responsibilities you and each ally are willing to take on: The more complicated the strategic partnership, the more the responsibilities of each party. The joint venture because of its legal nature is the most complex.
  • Rules you are willing to abide by: There are plenty of rules that apply to strategic partners. If you are going to try to win a government contract, for instance, there are special rules you must follow if you and another business are pooling your resources to fulfill a contract.

How to use Strategic Partners

Businesses use strategic partners to achieve specific goals. Some examples are:

  • Affiliate: Help drive traffic to another businesses website to help sell their products and services normally in acceptance of some kind of commission in return.
  • Production: Achieve advantages of scale, scope & speed; enhance product development; diversify; skill building; share expertise
  • Marketing: Increase market penetration; expand market development; keep competitors out
  • Sales: Enhance competitiveness in domestic &/or global markets; Develop new business opportunities through new products & services; Increase exports
  • Finance: Create new businesses; reduce costs

Here is my final thoughts. When looking for successful Strategic Partners here is what you should be looking for:

  • To be successful:
  • Set reasonable, realistic goals
  • Choose the right kind of strategic partnership
  • Know the rules
  • Select the right allies
  • Work the alliance
  • Measure results regularly
  • Have a way out (transfer, transform, exit) and a contingency plan

Would you like to become a Strategic Partner of ConnecTheDot? If so send us an email and tell us why you would be a good fit. CLICK HERE to send us an email.

(CLICK HERE to see some of the ConnecTheDot Strategic Partners)