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The strategic alliance buzzwords

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POSTED: April 17, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The next time you are at your computer, take a minute and Google the phrase "creating a strategic alliance."

Ok, so this may take more than a minute. The wealth of information and commentary on the subject is extensive and probably more than any one person would ever want to know. Why is it such a popular topic? Because strategic alliances have fallen in with social media and networking as one of the seemingly most powerful ways to get ahead in business.

A strategic alliance is best defined as a relationship between two or more noncompetitive businesses that works towards benefiting all in their respective fields. The individuals remain separate but work together on a mutually agreed upon basis. While I would wager that this practice is not a new one, the emphasis being placed on it and the recognized value it has is.

Forbes talks about it. Business schools all over the country teach it. Business people work networking events trying to achieve them. Large corporations do it. So do small start-ups. It is hotter than the latest Brittney Spears debacle - and far more productive.

Why are strategic alliances so attractive to businesses? Smart business people know they cannot be all things to all people. However, in order to provide added services or exceptional client care, they often have to find ways to assist their customers in ways that are outside their ability or resources. There is also the strength - and cost effectiveness - that comes in numbers. You have multiple businesses vested in the success of a project. You have multiple profits counting on the success of an idea instead of just one. Businesses find this dynamic creates energy and movement in ways that a single promotion cannot.

Businesses around Richmond Hill are not so different. They do wonderful things within the business community to promote and perform. It accomplishes a few things, all are very positive. First, it creates the energy we were just discussing. It also promotes the idea of doing business locally. The greatest thing I think it produces, outside of a successful bottom line, is the solidifying of relationships within the community.

Let me illustrate a bit how this works.

I was at a meeting last week. Jessica Hammoudeh, who has recently opened up a cosmetics and skincare boutique in the Publix shopping center was there. She mentioned that she was going to host an open house type event at her store to showcase her different offerings. She mentioned that local makeup artist Kim MacKay and whole health advisor Jacqueline Banks were both bringing their services to the events. Recognizing a blooming strategic alliance, Shirley Rowe of Rowe Photography offered to come in and take photos. That’s got all the makings of a strategic alliance.

Savvy Nails will also be a part of the events. Jessica had already partnered with them in other areas. "We noticed there was a need for businesses to work together to make the new plaza successful," Jessica said. "When one of us does well, it means better business for all us."

Shirley agreed. "It’s a good partnership because the photography suits Jessica’s store, it is great exposure and it allows me to be part of a fun project. It is the best kind of economical advertising. Neither business has to put out any capital. That is important for new and small businesses. It is a win-win for all involved. Our client base is very similar. I can show her clients how beneficial her products are while marketing my services to those same individuals."

I have seen the good and bad of strategic alliances. It would be unfair to say that these relationships always turn out well. There are times when it doesn’t go smoothly and businesses don’t receive the gains they thought they would. However, I think it turns out good for the local economy more often than not. But, I would love to hear what you think about it.

April Groves covers all things business for the Bryan County News. You can send thoughts, press releases, tips and questions you’d like answered to agroves@bryancountynews.net.

 

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