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Business GrowthMarketingVideo

How to Identify Your Key Partners

By January 20, 2021 March 8th, 2021 No Comments

Transcript

Aidan –

Are there any other businesses who you could use to help you deliver on your value proposition?

In this video we’re going to discuss what key partners are and how choosing the right ones can help you grow your business.

Hi, my name is Aidan and I run a company called Proper Video. In our Business Model Canvas series we are joined by an amazing business coach called Paul Aisthorpe from a company called Scale-Ability.

I’ve personally been mentored by Paul and whilst with him he helps me work through something called the Business Model Canvas. The Business Model Canvas is a one page business plan developed by an organization called Strategyzer. It helped me so much that I’ve now interviewed Paul about each building block of the Business Model Canvas hoping that you will gain just as much value from it as I did.

So, let’s jump in.

[Interview]

Aidan –

Ok, Paul. So, in this video we’re going to talk about key partners. So, if you can give me a quick explanation on what we mean by key partners.

Paul –

Yes, key partners, Aidan, so these are relationships with businesses or people outside of your organization that are going to help you leverage your value proposition. Those important organizations are people that will help you on your journey for growth a bit more than just a customer supplier relationship. So, you know, the people are going to, as I said, help leverage your value proposition.

Aidan –

Yes. I was just going to touch on that. Your customer relationships and key partners, we can slightly be a bit confused but we don’t need to confuse them.

Paul –

Absolutely.

Aidan –

A customer relationships is the customer relationship, key partners is who’s going to help you get to where you want to be and achieve your goals essentially.

Right, ok. So, give us some examples of different key partners for different businesses. So, we’ll start with a service-based business, let’s use me, for example, to you who would be my sort of like key partner I suppose.

Paul –

Ok. Well, we’ve kind of touched on this a little bit earlier, haven’t we? In terms of channels as well. And again, we can see that the building blocks are all linked together. So, if we talk about channels and we talked about potentially white labelling your service through another agency, a creative agency they will become a key partner. Why do we need to define them as a key partner? Because there’s effort needed to be put into the relationship in a different way. Like I said earlier, it’s not just a customer supplier relationship that needs nurturing, there needs to be some effort put into it and really sort of defining the rules of engagement that contract what it looks like, how you work together. So, you know, that’s why somebody like creative agents, say that needs or your services will be classed as a key partner potentially. In our industry, we know a lot of our people at work in our industry and what we do, they build their business on what they call the associate model. So, key partners will be our associates, they’re not employees but the people that we sort of work with when we need… When we’ve got work that comes our way that we haven’t got the capacity to do ourselves but we might work with an associate coach or associate mentor or associate trainer, freelancer if you want a better term. So, there are plenty of people out there that work that way, that help us grow our bridges. They’re key partners for us.

Aidan –

Yes, ok. Yeah, that’s a great example. And sort of like key partners for, if we use your food backgrounds again as an example, who we also have like key partners for your food and again, yourself like social net there with associates and stuff like that.

Paul –

Yes, food and drinks is a good example. Again, our businesses was of a reasonable size that the sort of key partnerships tended to be a little bit more limited. But there were certain times when we would look at the marketplace and say, “Well, how can we grow our business?” And we might want to look at different categories of product to add on to our range of products. So, as we were a food supplier, we went out into the marketplace and say, “Well, we’re supplying to restaurants, pubs, hotels, caterers, they all need to clean their kitchens, so we could offer a range of cleaning products on top of what we were supplying already. But what type of cleaning products do we want to supply?” So, this became a little bit more than just finding a supplier of cleaning products. We wanted somebody to come up, come along with us on the journey and provide a different range of services just buying the product. So, we went out and sourced a environmentally friendly cleaning product. It was quite new in the marketplace and scientifically proven to be completely environmentally friendly, lots of accreditation, lots of certifications behind it. But that business became a partner because we defined what we needed out of them more than just buying the product. We needed educating, our sales team needed training, they needed to invest in our marketing and support us with that marketing and how we promoted that product. So, we both won out of it, it was always a win-win. So, it was a little bit different to us. So, we made sure that that partnership was nurtured, developed and worked on constantly.

Aidan –

Yes, that’s a really good example. So, we’ve touched on some examples of different types of key partners. How would somebody sort of like go about defining who they actually want to be their key partner where it’s sort of a lot of businesses have values, different values? When you work with businesses that share the same vision, say share the same set of value, that’d be one way to define them. What other ways would you be able to define who you want to work with?

Paul –

I think you’ve picked up on a really crucial point here, first of all, values. And if you’re not aligned in terms of values of those two organizations then it won’t work. So that’s a fundamental for me, it’s making sure you think alike, you’ve got similar values. But something we on I think in earlier conversations was, what are your strengths in your business? What do you want to be doing? What’s the best value of your time? And certainly this is the conversation we have with smaller clients. And when you don’t enjoy something, let’s take financial finances for example or HR, again another example, outsource it. But if you can outsource it, but it’s a crucial part of your business going forward, HR is particularly a good one, you’ve got a team of people, you want to HR partner, don’t you? You’re not going to employ a HR manager but you want a HR partner. Is that just buying a service or is it a bit more to it than that? For me, it would be about looking at that and say, “That’s a key partner because people are integral to our business, they’re integral to our growth, the part of our value proposition service.” So, people is a really big part of our organizational growth plan and culture. So, if we’re going to get HR services we need to partner, not just a supplier.

Aidan –

Ok. So, key partners, a lot of business owners do referral network and referral market in networking. BNI, BoB and different types of networking groups. So, those people within your networking group will then become your key partners?

Paul –

Absolutely. And I think, you know, we go to networking events all the time, don’t we? As business people. And we will naturally form alliances with people that have got synergy with us. And what we mean by that, we are wanting to reach out to the same types of customers. So, by collaborating, becoming referral partners, the pathway was there already, isn’t it? Referral partners, they are a key partner. If you can see a long-term relationship we can both benefit each other. Then what I said earlier about making sure that we could find what the rules of engagement are, what that contract looks like, whether it’s a formally binding one or it’s an informal one, it needs working on, isn’t it?

But equally there’s a win-win for both of you as a collaboration. Collaborations are really good examples of key partnerships.

[Interview]

Aidan –

So, there we have it. I hope that’s given you some insight into what key partners are and how they can help you grow your business. Join us on the next video where we’re talking about what key resources and key activities are. If you’d like to learn more or speak to either Paul or myself there’s a link where you can contact us in the description below.

 

 

Find out more about Paul

www.scale-ability.co.uk

www.linkedin.com/in/paulaisthorpebusinesscoach/

 

Download the Business Model Canvas

www.strategyzer.com/canvas/business-model-canvas

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