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The Business Owner’s Checklist for Developing A Successful Strategic Alliance

Developing relationships with strategic alliances (referral or joint venture partners) is a great way for you to leverage your marketing message and amplify your sales efforts. Most business owners I talk to in my private business coaching practice don’t know how to go about finding good partners, so I’ve created a checklist for developing a successful strategic alliance, based on my many years of experience using this tactic successfully, in my own business.

First, let’s start with a definition. A Strategic Alliance (also known as a Joint Venture Partner or Referral Partner) are two or more independent companies coming together to pursue agreed upon goals while remaining independent organizations. Companies in strategic alliances collaborate and may share resources, but remain distinct and separate from one another.

I recently attended an Expat Housing Seminar in the Netherlands. It was a complimentary informational session for expats living in the Netherlands who are interested in buying a home. The focus of the seminar was to bring together a team of experts to share their insights and professional expertise about the ins and outs of expat housing.

The seminar was organized by a group of business owners who had formed a Strategic Alliance. They came together to provide a unique offering for a particular niche market: expats. These experts included a Mortgage Broker, Estate Agent, Notary, and Tax Service.

I find this to be a great example of how a group of complimentary services can come together to leverage their marketing and amplify sales efforts in order to multiply their business development results.

I’m certain these experts generated dozens of leads from that one seminar that evening, and they deliver the same seminar in various neighboring cities several times per month. This is a wonderful way to generate leads efficiently and effectively, while simultaneously providing the client with a fulsome level of services that they will eventually need without having to hunt around to find them.

A successful alliance benefits all parties involved, as well as the client. The two or more companies should be getting a benefit to their business greater than they should do on their own and should be providing the client with a one-stop solution that meets their needs. It’s a win-win for everybody!

Being clear on what you are looking for will help you streamline who you are seeking to partner with and ensure that you don’t align with people who are not a good fit.

Think about what the benefits would be of going into an alliance.

What types of companies would you fit with? What areas are you lacking that a partner could augment? Who does your client get services from either before working with you, during, or after? These are all great questions to ask yourself when you are determining how to make this tactic work for your particular situation.

Once you’ve developed your list of potential partners, you’ll want to vet them to make sure that they are a good fit.

There are some ‘must-haves’ for your potential partnership to be a fruitful one for everybody involved. 

Here’s my 15-point checklist for developing a successful strategic alliance:

  1. The other person is also in business development mode.
  2. They have an amazing reputation.
  3. They are engaging and interested in partnerships that work.
  4. Their niche market is the same as your niche market.
  5. They are sustainable in their business model.
  6. They have the ability to refer business.
  7. Your businesses would be more powerful together than apart.
  8. They have been in successful alliances in the past and know it takes work for alliances to produce measurable results for all parties involved.
  9. They are in locations that work for you.
  10. They are exceptional at making introductions between professionals
  11. They keep their word.
  12. They can clearly outline the value that they bring to their clients so it’s easy for you to refer.
  13. They clearly understand the value you bring to the table and know how to selfishly benefit from selflessly promoting you.
  14. They have control over their time.
  15. They are looking for a long-term relationship.

In order for this tactic to work for you, there are a few critical pieces that must be in place.

You not only need to meet the criteria in the above checklist yourself, but you also need to:

  • Be clear on your niche market and who your qualified buyers are; making sure that you are targeting a market that is motivated and has a budget to work with you.
  • Have your Elevator Pitch polished, and be able to articulate who you serve, what problem you solve and the benefit that your clients get by working with you.

I’m curious to know how you are using strategic alliances, referral partners or joint venture partners to grow your business. Leave me a comment below.

To your success,


About Michela Quilici

International Business Growth Coach, Award-winning Marketing Strategist, Best-Selling Author, Speaker and Forbes Coaches Council. Known as a Business Navigator, Michela works with growth-minded business owners, service professionals and CEOs who want to ignite their businesses and accelerate growth, while building a business aligned to who they are.

She is passionate about creating roadmaps that ignite leaders to take inspired action to navigate their growth on purpose using strategy, systems and self-leadership, so they can get noticed, get clients and get profitable.