A Business Partner: An Alliance for Growth

Leverage the power of synergy

There was a time when a business partner usually referred to the business entity of a partnership. This existed when two or more people joined forces to create and/or operate a business. There are many benefits to this type of arrangement. Namely, in an ideal situation, those who join together to form a business partnership bring together elements that neither of them possess individually. For example, perhaps one partner might have a firm grasp of a business concept but might be lacking in his ability to market a product.

Whether he is looking to bring more marketing experience to the business or some other asset, that partner might bring in someone who has more knowledge of marketing than he might possess, creating a synergy between the two partners. This synergy might consist of any number of assets besides those mentioned. They might include getting access to business capital and/or knowledge and experience in any number of other areas.

Besides this common meaning of the concept of a business partner, more recent uses are much broader, to include such parties as suppliers, customers, agents and/or resellers, and value-added resellers (VARs). Any one or combination of these can be considered a business partner, the most common criteria being that each partner brings value to the business arrangement.

The Business Partner Search

Business partners can come together in any number of ways. In most cases, business partnerships happen as a business is formed and the need of one or the other partner is established from the beginning.

This would be the case such as that above where one partner might wish to start a business with his know-how, but he needs operating capital to get started. As a result, he might begin a partnership with another person who is willing to get involved with the business and provide the needed capital and obtain other forms of financing tools such as business credit cards.

In the second example of a partnership, those who come together to establish or maintain a business could do so in the course of operation of that business. Examples of these types of partners include the following:

Suppliers. Doing business without the cooperation of those who provide your products or the parts of products that you create is virtually impossible. Since these suppliers are often an integral part of your business they are often considered to be partners.

Customers. Although not generally thought of as a business partner, customers are indeed an integral part of the success of any business.

Agents and/or resellers. Regardless of the type of business you operate, everything you do is, or should be directed at making some kind of sale. It doesn't matter whether you create and sell a product or provide a service, a sale is the ultimate purpose. It naturally follows that anyone who creates or facilitates sales for you and your business would be considered a partner. Agents are those persons who act as sales persons for your business. This contrasts with resellers who are in business on their own who either sell your product singularly, or make your product part of a package that they in turn sell to others.

Value-added Resellers (VARs). A VAR is a business that adds their own value to a business product and as a result creates an enhanced product that they can sell. For example, if a computer hardware company partners with a software vendor to provide software for their equipment, the hardware company would be considered the VAR for the software vendor. The ultimate value of this relationship is that both partners benefit from the mutual cooperation that each of them provide in the enterprise.

A rather recent innovation for pairing business partners is the "matchmaking" industry that has formed around the idea of establishing these relationships. For example, if a given business owner feels he has a need for a business partner, he might seek out the services of a business partner matchmaker who in turn evaluates the owners needs and matches him with a partner who would be able to fill that need, whatever it may be.

The Synergy of a Business Partner

Without a doubt, synergy is the prime benefit of having a business partner. Whether the benefit is derived as a result of bringing benefit to the business in whatever form, the ultimate goal is to create a better and more profitable business for everyone.