Partnerships make your startup stronger. Sounds good, but honestly, why would you want to partner with other people or businesses?

One very good reason can be to obtain access to expertise, skills, resources, etc. that you don’t have yourself or that you do not want to focus on. For example, you may need a graphical designer for your web site. Perhaps you are very gifted and would be able to do the entire branding of your business yourself. However, perhaps your business idea is to establish a new boutique cafe in your neighborhood. Maybe it makes most sense to finding premises, to pick the right furniture, to select the right staff, etc. and to leave creating the web site to a supplier or partner.

To stay with the example of a cafe, perhaps you want to reduce the risk and maybe you partner with a franchise organization initially. That way you learn the ropes. At any time in the future you can still decide to go all on your own once you are confident that you have learned enough to stand on your own.

Partners can also come in handy for example if you want to reduce the costs for developing your product. Try to assess whether there are people who need a similar product or product components but target an entirely different audience. For example, let’s assume you need a video player component for your web application. While there are certainly cases where building one on your own could make sense, most of the time it makes more sense to integrate an existing one saving a lot of time and cost.

These examples give you just three possible reasons for why to partner: access to skill sets you may not have, reducing risk, and reducing cost and time.

When you put sticky notes on your business model canvas for key partnership, this doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind later. Just put there what reflects your best understanding at the moment, then update as you go.

Posted: Saturday, January 25, 2014 4:17:00 PM UTC