Startup Scaling

Partnering for Success: 7 Top Tips for Building Business Partnerships for Startups 

Learn the 7 Secrets for Business Partnership for your startup. Leverage corporate entrepreneurship, strategic alliances, joint ventures, and find cofounders.
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Min Read
February 2, 2023

Starting a business is an exciting endeavour, but it is also a challenging one. Building strong business partnerships is a secret to successfully growing your startup. So as you navigate your startup growth, consider the benefits of working with a solid partner.

The right partnerships bring new talents to your team, accelerate sales, enhance product development, and optimize your operations. Having the right people partner with you and your company will help you accomplish the otherwise impossible.

Today we'll explore the top strategies for building successful business partnerships for your startup.

Business Partnership Defined

A business partnership (BP) is a type of business arrangement where two or more people or companies share in a business's ownership, profits, and liabilities. A business partnership is a structured method for people to combine their resources and expertise in order to pursue a common business objective and jointly benefit from the profits.

Different types of business partnership include strategic alliances, joint ventures, cofounders, and corporate entrepreneurship ventures. Each one of these has different levels of commitment, contractual obligations, and benefits to the partners.

Partnerships are an effective way for business and entrepreneurs to access additional capital and resources they couldn't access on their own. The structure can be formal or informal and usually involves a contractual agreement between the parties.

Any partnership has benefits and risks, so it's important to understand the legal and financial implications before entering into one, and structure things properly in advance to ensure success.

7 Key Benefits of a Great Business Partnership

So why should you take the time to invest in a business partnership? Many great businesses were only able to succeed because of the people and companies they partnered with.

Consider these three examples:

  • Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak cofounded Apple Computer. Woz was the technical genius, while Jobs was the consummate salesperson and visionary who could sell with his amazing "halo effect." With the combination of a great product and effective sales, the first Apple personal computer became a success. Over 40 years, Apple has become one of the most profitable companies in the world.
  • Co-Founders of the well-known Hewlett-Packard (HP), Bill Hewlett and David Packard, flipped a coin to figure out the order in which their company name would be arranged. Hewlett & Packard were one of the original garage entrepreneurs. A post-graduation collaboration led to the creation of their first product, an audio oscillator designed to test audio gear (the HP200A), and they founded HP in 1939. Today HP makes great products for businesses and consumers worldwide.
  • Procter & Gamble is a brand everyone knows. Brothers-in-law William Procter and James Gamble founded P&G in 1837. Individually they produced candles and soap respectively. They partnered because they both competed for the same raw materials. One of the biggest-ever consumer goods companies was born. It currently has a net income of around $14 billion (2022).

These are just some of the biggies. Thousands of startups benefit from business partnerships every day, with many advantages.

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1. How Alliances are Finding Big Success in Sales and Product

When it comes to running a successful business, there are two main competencies that you must master: sales and product. But what happens when a company not only excels in both areas, but seamlessly merges them together? Enter business partnerships and alliances.

Industry leaders have figured out the secret to creating a symbiotic relationship between sales and product, and the results are impressive. Strong partnerships or alliances can sell more of their offerings by constantly keeping a close eye on customer needs and using that feedback to improve their products. And by consistently hitting their sales targets, they're able to invest more resources into product development, creating an upward spiral of success.

But it's not just about hitting numbers; successful alliances prioritize the customer experience. By understanding what customers want and need, they're able to tailor their sales approach and product offerings to meet those needs. And by fostering a culture of collaboration and communication, they're able to quickly address any issues that arise and continue to improve their offerings.

In short, these partnerships have cracked the code on merging sales and product competencies and it's paying off big time. They're able to sell more while also consistently delivering products that customers love. And with a strong focus on the customer experience, they're able to stay ahead of the competition.

2. Fuelling Growth: How a Joint-Venture Can Help Your Business

When you want your business to grow, every company needs a few things: product, promotion, and funding. And that's where the certain joint-ventures come in: here you have ways to secure necessary funding or co-market with a popular brand.

A joint venture is one type of powerful business partnership. It involves two or more people, businesses, or organizations coming together to combine resources and expertise in order to create something new.

Working together, each partner is able to share ideas, costs and risks of the venture while creating something special in the process. When done right, a successful joint venture can lead to long-term growth and success for all involved.

Consider these well-known joint ventures:

• Crocs, the well-known footwear brand, partnered with Post Malone, Vera Bradly, KFC and others in 2020

• Dior and Rimowa partnered on a very successful limited-edition collection of luxury suitcases and trunks in 2019

• Hulu, the popular U.S. streaming service, is a joint-venture created by Walt Disney, News Corp, NBC, and others

So depending on the joint-venture, a new company may be funded, co-branding can enhance existing products, or product lines can be refreshed.

Joint ventures are careful to make smart decisions, prioritize their investments, and put the funding towards initiatives that will drive the most growth. They also have a strong team to manage the venture and ensure it's creating effective results.

3. Big Name Partnerships Provide Trust and Stability

When it comes to growing a business, there's nothing quite like having a big-name backer in your corner. But what happens when you don't have one? Enter business partnerships. They provide the trust and stability that a well-known backer can give without growing that brand yourself.

Partnerships are about aligning interests and working together towards a common goal. By partnering with another company, you're able to tap into their expertise, resources, and network.

And it's not just about the tangible benefits - business partnerships provide a level of trust and stability that can be hard to come by otherwise. When you're working with another company, you

have more resources at your disposal. This can be especially important when gaining trust with your customers.

For example, gardening suppliers Miracle-Gro and Sprout It are a match made in heaven. These two companies have teamed up to bring gardeners the best of both worlds: the tried-and-true products from Miracle-Gro combined with the innovation and convenience of Sprout It's plant pods.

Together, they're making it easier for people to grow their produce at home. By partnering, they're able to tap into each other's expertise and resources and offer a wider range of products to their customers.

Business partnerships are a great way to get the trust and stability that a big name backer can provide. By aligning interests and working together, both product and sales success can be accelerated.

4. How Business Partnerships Rescue Great Product Ideas from Extinction

With product development, not every idea is a winner. But what happens when a great product idea is on the brink of extinction? Business partnerships to the rescue! These collaborations can bring new life into a product that might otherwise die.

Take Airbus and the A220 series airplane as an example. The A220 was originally developed by Bombardier, but it struggled to gain traction in the market for complex reasons. That's when Airbus stepped in and purchased the program for $1. By partnering with Bombardier, Airbus was able to tap into their expertise and resources to market and produce the A220. The result? A very successful product that might have otherwise died.

Strategic alliances like this one provide a way for companies to share risks and resources and to bring a product to market that otherwise would not have been possible. And because both companies have a vested interest in the partnership's success, they can work together to ensure the product gets the attention and support it needs.

Business partnerships can be the lifesaver that a great product idea needs. By partnering, companies can breathe new life into a product, and bring it to market for customers to enjoy.

5. Risk Management: How Business Partnerships Tackle Risk

Risk is an inevitable part of the business game. But what happens when you can't go it alone? Collaborations allow companies to manage risk in tandem, making it easier to navigate the ups and downs of the market.

When two companies come together in a partnership, they're able to share the burden of risk. Instead of one company bearing the full weight of a potential loss or failure, the risk is spread out among both partners. This makes it easier for each company to handle and allows them to take on more risk overall, as they have a partner to fall back on.

But it's not just about sharing the burden, alliances also provide a way for companies to pool their resources and expertise to mitigate risk. By working together, they're able to develop strategies and contingencies to minimize potential losses and capitalize on opportunities.

By sharing the burden and pooling resources, companies are able to navigate the ups and downs of the market more confidently. So if you're looking to tackle risk head-on, a strategic alliance can help you to identify and mitigate those risks.

6. How Business Partnerships Help Companies Acquire Top Talent

The right team is vital to growing a business. But what happens when you're struggling to find the talent you need?  Alliances and collaborations help companies acquire top talent in a way that going solo can't match.

When two companies come together in a partnership, they're able to tap into each other's networks and resources to find the best candidates for the job. They can share job postings, refer qualified individuals, and even collaborate on recruitment efforts. This not only increases the pool of potential candidates but it also gives companies access to a wider range of talent, including those that might not have been available otherwise.

But it's not just about finding candidates, business partnerships also provide a way for companies to collaborate on training and development efforts. By working together, they're able to provide employees with more opportunities to grow and develop their skills, making them more valuable to the company in the long run.

Alliances are a great way to gain top talent. By tapping into each other's networks and resources and collaborating on recruitment and development efforts, companies are able to find and retain the best employees for the job. So if you're struggling to build the team you need, consider a strategic alliance with the right partner.

7. Planning and Leveraging the Power of Strategic Alliances

In business, getting caught up in the excitement of what may happen can be easy. However, before moving forward, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of the expectations and goals of the alliance. Without this foundation, partnerships can quickly falter and fail.

A clear understanding of expectations and goals helps avoid misunderstandings and disagreements. It allows both companies to have an open and honest conversation about what they're looking for and what they're willing to put in. It also sets the stage for good communication and regular check-ins to ensure the partnership is on track to achieve its goals.

Before entering into an alliance, it's important for both companies to be in agreement about what they hope to achieve. This includes not only the overall goals of the partnership but also the specific expectations of each party regarding responsibilities, resources, and timelines. Without a clear understanding of these details, it can be difficult to measure success and make decisions about the direction of the partnership.

Strategic alliances are a great way for businesses to come together and create something bigger than either of them could achieve alone. By combining resources, experiences, and skills, companies can form strong partnerships that provide a solid foundation for further growth and success.

Strategic alliances help increase efficiency, reduce costs, boost innovation, open up new markets, and generate new ideas. Plus, they give businesses the opportunity to access skills or expertise they may not have in-house.

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How Corporate Entrepreneurship Can Benefit Your Startup

Corporate entrepreneurship is the method of a large and established company engaging in entrepreneurial ventures. This can be done by funding startups, having a special entrepreneurial division, or other types of strategic alliances.

Here are just a few of the ways corporate entrepreneurship can benefit startups:

  1. Access to resources: One of the biggest benefits of partnering with a large corporate entity is access to resources. Large companies have resources that startups often lack, such as financial resources, diverse experts, and technology. By partnering with a corporate entity, startups gain access to these resources and apply them to grow their business.
  2. Increased visibility: Partnering with a corporate entity also increases visibility for startups. Large companies have a wide reach and are able to help expose startups to new markets and customers. This increased visibility leads to more sales and higher profits.
  3. Networking opportunities: Corporate entrepreneurship also provides startups with valuable networking opportunities. By working with a corporate entity, startups make connections and form relationships that have long-term benefits.
  4. Mentorship: Large companies often have experienced executives who serve as mentors for startups. These mentors provide valuable advice and guidance on how to navigate the business world and help startups avoid common mistakes.
  5. Brand recognition: Partnering with a well-known corporate entity also lends credibility and brand recognition to a startup. This makes it easier for startups to attract customers and investors.
  6. Innovation: Large companies have a wealth of experience and knowledge, but they also get stuck sometimes. By partnering with a startup, a corporate entity accesses new ideas and perspectives, driving innovation and keeping them ahead of the curve.
  7. Flexibility: Startups are known for their agility and flexibility, and this serves as a real advantage when partnering with a corporate entity. Startups work quickly and adapt to changing circumstances, helping the corporate entity respond to market changes and shifting customer demands.
  8. Cost savings: Startups often have more streamlined operations and lower overhead costs than large corporate entities. This translates into cost savings for the corporate entity, as they outsource certain tasks or projects to the startup at a lower cost.
  9. Talent acquisition: Corporate entities benefit from a partnership with a startup by having access to a pool of talented individuals with diverse skills and experience. This helps them fill gaps in their talent pool and attract top talent to the company.

Corporate entrepreneurship brings a wealth of benefits to startups. By providing access to resources, increased visibility, networking opportunities, mentorship, and brand recognition, corporate entrepreneurship helps startups grow and succeed.

As a startup, it's worth considering partnering with a corporate entity in order to take advantage of these benefits and take your business to the next level. For example, Wayra will help you find venture capital, resources, and cofounders with our direct investments and resources from Telefónica.

How to Find Cofounders to Grow Your Startup

So now you know the benefits of a partner or cofounder, and you want to find one. Where to look? Follow this list and you'll find a great cofounder:

  1. Wayra Germany helps startups find co-founders and venture capital with our startup community. You can access a powerful network of mentors, advisors, and potential investors through Wayra's network.
  2. In Berlin or Hamburg, you can join Factory, who has a large network of startups and corporate sponsors.
  3. Online, use tools like LinkedIn, HackerNews, and YC's Startup School to connect with potential cofounders and chat about your startup idea.
  4. Visit Munich, Germany, and join the Wayra startup community and attend some events. This is a great opportunity to talk with talented people and explore opportunities for collaboration.

As you find cofounders, have open discussions about your ideas and short-term and long-term plans. Write down the risks, responsibilities, and financial plan. And be clear about your exit strategy from the beginning, so everyone understands what happens in various exit scenarios. This will ensure your success with your partners and cofounders.

Partners in Success: How Wayra and Telefónica are Creating Winning Business Partnerships

Wayra and Telefónica are showing the world how it's done with business partnerships. Wayra, the venture capital startup investment arm of Telefónica is focused on creating and fostering partnerships that drive innovation and growth. Together, we're able to provide startups with access to resources, networks, and expertise so they can bring their products to market and succeed.

The results speak for themselves: Wayra has created a pipeline of successful startups, and they have been able to bring new and innovative products and services to market. By working together, we're able to make the world a better place. So whether you want to find cofounders or secure venture capital, we're here to help.

Check out our startup guide and we'll show you how a Wayra partnership could benefit your startup. See you there.

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Written by
Wayra Team
Written by
Wayra Team

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