Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Chief Financial Officer and Strategic Partnerships

During these challenging economic times, now more than ever businesses should be looking to develop strategic partnerships. Before I give you an example let me define what I mean by strategic partnerships. Strategic partnerships are developing relationships with the objective of pooling resources with the purpose of both partners obtaining more business or both partners cutting costs.

By way of example, let me use the food industry. There are all different types of food vendors but let me use a distributor of frozen cookie dough and a distributor of frozen appetizers. These are clearly non competitive entities. Both of these companies need frozen storage, both of these companies need more business. Why can’t these two companies form a strategic partnership and share offsite storage costs or one company sublet frozen storage to the other if one of the companies already has onsite frozen storage. Both of these companies see accounts that can use both products so why can’t they share leads and a finder’s fee would go to the referring company. Both companies use office supplies so once again to obtain bigger discounts both companies could pool their resources. Does one company have the financial resources to buy equipment that both companies can use? The bottom line is the possibilities are endless.

The CFO should assist the business owner in creating ideas for finding and negotiating strategic partnerships.