Don’t forget the Basics of Partnering – ask Why Before How

  • Why do we sometimes ignore the basics when we are building partnering activities into our business plans? We usually start with “How” will I make my business successful via partnering, but neglect to think through “How” will I make my partnering activities successful.

    A simple initial approach is to use the Five W’s – Why, What, When, Where and Who With - to help you create a baseline for successful collaborative partnering – anything from referral partners, through to re-sellers and distributors, and even larger more strategic alliances.


    There are many reasons to partner – growth, innovation, disruption! But why do YOU want to or need to partner? What’s Your Rationale?

    Tip: There is no point in trying to partner with another organisation unless you understand your “Why” … and theirs.


    What type of relationship(s) do you want to end up with and do you have the right resources to get you there?

    Tip: Think through the long term goal of the relationship(s) …. With some evolution baked in along the way.


    When is the right time for a company like us to start the different types/models of partnering we’ve identified for our growth strategies?

    Tip: Figure out When is something soon enough - to stay in the race - but not too late to miss out on the prize.


    Is Where about where to go…. or where to look for new partners? 

    Tip: Where is not just about thinking geographic. Where is also tied into the Why and When.

    Who with?

    Is Who about profiling partners to fit Why …. or is it being Opportunistic to gain some quick reward? 

    Tip: Partner selection should absolutely be driven by your strategy, not the other way around.


    You may see Partnering as a key component of your growth strategy or just another way of doing business, nonetheless partnering is often found as a key element of the most successful business strategies and one you should consider for your business.

    Try the 5W’s out for yourself and I guarantee the “How” will become a lot clearer.

    For a more in-depth view of the 5W’s of partnering, read the full length article originally published on The Partnering Portal.