I met for coffee with someone recently to sound board some of their business development ideas.
“I have a great idea for a partnership with Dr. Pepper,” he said.
Having seen Dr. Pepper’s uncanny ability to combine 23 delightful flavors into a satisfying diet drink that tastes just like the original, I could certainly understand the desire to collaborate with the company.
“Great, what’s in it for them?” I responded.
“Well, we’ve got an award-winning product, our brand is getting lots of buzz and attention, and we both sell to 18-35 year old males, so I think there’s a lot of opportunity for cross-promotion.”
And yet, why should they care?
The key to a successful partnership is ensuring that the collaboration creates long-term value for everyone involved. Too often, it’s easy to see things only from your own perspective while forgetting the vantage point of your prospective partner: of course partnering with a Fortune 500 company gives your startup credibility, but what’s in it for them?
The long-term value that you bring needs to be strong enough to break through innumerable obstacles on the way to a deal.
– Is the value compelling enough to turn a contact into an advocate, rallying their bosses and decision-makers into action?
– Is the value large enough to break through the bureaucratic red-tape of a large company?
– Is the value obvious enough to get someone excited enough to respond to your initial proposal email?
The path to partnership begins with a thoughtful review not only of the impact on your business, but your partner’s. Give them a reason to care, and you’re on your way.