Alliance Strategy 101

The following questions should form the basis of your alliance strategy. Too often, business owners create alliance plans or jump into action without taking the time to fully understand who they are, the problems they have and the goals they want to achieve.

Sections one and two will help you understand your own company. Don’t rush through these questions. If you want to develop an alliance strategy that will allow you to grow your company without spending a lot of time and money—and without wasting a lot of time and money—you need to invest some time in these early stages.

Print out section one and two or copy and paste them into a Word document. Then get comfortable. You may want to set aside an hour or so each day to devote to your alliance strategy and alliance plans.

The other sections contain questions that will need to be addressed later in the process, such as when you find a potential alliance partner or when you are ready to implement your alliance marketing strategy. You may wish to read these now to get an idea of what you’ll need to think about in the future.

If you have questions about creating a alliance strategy or alliance plans, or about the information you see here, please contact us.

  1. Who are you?

    What do you do?

    How do you do it?

    What are your strengths?

    What are your weaknesses? Who has strengths in this area that we can work with?

    Do you walk your talk?

    What do you need to make the business a success?

    What resources do you need?

    What assets do you need?

    Are you flexible?

    Do you communicate well?

    Can you listen to others?

    Do you have a strategy?

    Are you willing to take some time to create a strategy and a plan?

    What do you expect from an alliance?

    Can you work with others?

    Do you have a track record of working well with others?

    Can you take action?

    Can you take action fast if the right opportunity comes along?

    What do you want to accomplish?

    What are your most difficult problems?

    What does the future look like?

    What do you know (facts about the future) and what do you assume (your best guess about the future)?

    How should your organization be positioned in the future to allow it to offer the best services and products?

    Do you have some desired outcomes that you have not been able to achieve on your own?

    What happens if you do nothing?

    How can we create greater value for all by teaming up with another business?

    What changes do you feel you need to make?

    What takes up too much of your time?

    What excites you about what you do or what you have to offer?

    What important problems do you solve?

  2. Getting Clear on your market

    What are the trends in your market/industry?

    Who is your competition?

    Market penetration: how will you introduce new services? New products?

    Market diversification: are there new groups you can serve?

    What is your business model?

    Where do you fit in the market?

    What is your competitive advantage?

    Is your target market stable?

    Where are you compared to your competition?

    Where do you want to be within your market?

    What issues are your customers facing?

    How will an alliance make your customers more successful?

    What will your clients need over the next 2 years? 3 years? 5 years?

    When potential clients don’t choose you who do they choose? Or do they go without?

    Do you have a competitive advantage? (one that can be combined with another company)

    Who or what type of business would be your ideal alliance partner?

    What will be the pricing strategy?

    What types of service will be needed?

    What are the key factors for success?

    How will the competition respond to your alliance?

    Will there be a profit for all involved?

  3. Strategy – questions to be answered about your potential alliance partner

    Do you share the same goals?

    Do they have the required capabilities and resources?

    Do they have credibility in the community?

    Do you have a trusting relationship?

    Do you have mutual respect?

    Are you willing to compromise? What will you not compromise on?

    Is there a shared vision?

    Is there a synergy between companies?

    Do you have a shared mission?

    Are there some strategies that you would like to implement but need more resources to do so? What kind of resources?

    What thoughts can you share?

    What assets can you share?

    What talents can you share?

    What business systems and or business processes can you share?

    How will you know if a potential partner is a good fit?

    Does each company have the same goals for getting together to form an alliance?

    What knowledge, skills, relationships, and staff (or other resources) are necessary to accomplish the shared purpose?

    Why do you need each other to create value for your clients?

    Does each company understand the key interests of the other?

    Can both companies agree on a processor system to use?

    Who will be responsible for what?

  4. Big Questions

    Can you identify and clarify opportunities?

    Can you define what you want as a result or an outcome?

    What are your goals?

    What alternatives are available to you?

    How can you reduce uncertainty?

    What challenges are you facing?

    How do you jointly solve problems that come up?

    What trends present opportunities for you?

    How do you start out working together?

    What are your objectives?

    What are their objectives?

    How do you make decisions?

    How do they make decisions?

    What are some of the reasons why the alliance would come to an end?

    What happens when it does end?

    How do you measure success?

    How do they measure success?

    What is the future of your company?

    What is your core purpose?

    What are your core activities?

    What are your main bottlenecks?

    What is the one skill that can help your business the most?

    Will you gain an advantage in the marketplace by working together?

  5. Develop the relationship

    Do you have a budget in mind?

    How is each business changing internally to help the whole system improve?

    Why are you doing this?

    Can you trust the people in the potential business alliance?

    What is the purpose?

    What are the payoffs?

    What will happen if you achieve this?

    What possibilities do you see?

    How will you know when you have achieved it?

    How can you find more profitable ways to generate consistent revenue and sales growth?

    How can you work together to take advantage of opportunities?

    What do you need to learn about each other?

    Who are the key people that will be involved?

    How would you define a good relationship? A good fit?

    What would be your guiding principles for the relationship?

    What legal matters have to be addressed?

    What accounting matters need to be addressed?

    Is there a fit between the companies?

  6. Implementation

    What small action steps do you need to take to start out?

    What tools, systems, and processes will you use to measure performance?

    How will decisions be made?

    Who will make the final decision?

    What are the time frames and milestones for progress?

    When will each phase be implemented?

    Where will each phase be carried out?

    What resources will need to be allocated to the alliance?

    What contingency plans need to be in place?

    What type of an agreement needs to be prepared?

    How will you share and discuss the results? What is important to each other?

    What needs to be improved?

    Are there new opportunities available?

    What do you need to focus on now?

    How can you leverage the alliance?



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