Joining A Joint Venture: What To Look For In A Partner
Joint ventures are a regular occurrence in the business world. This mostly because they provide a wide array of benefits for any prospective company, both large and small. First is that the sharing of resources between two companies can highly lessen the usual amount of risk that one of them would usually face if they did it on their own. Another benefit is that the cross-pollination of information between two companies can lead to accelerated product development and new breakthroughs.
Financial support is also a great benefit; entering a market or a introducing/producing a new product can cost quite a bit of money and spreading out the cost between two or more sponsors can make sure that the losses aren't catastrophic if it falls through.
As can be seen, forming a joint venture can be very profitable for a company. The thing is, for a partnership like this to prosper, you need to have a good partner. Having a partner that doesn't pick up his part of the burden is even more of a liability than going it alone and a partner that is actively sabotaging your business relationship, whether intentionally or unintentionally, can be a tremendous problem for a company.
This is why it's important to screen your prospective partners. So what should you be looking for in a potential partner?
First of all, the company needs to have strong leadership. A solid hand on the keel can help integration between two companies be a lot easier. Indecisive leadership or an unclear chain of command can cause problems like conflicting orders or lax discipline that can spell disaster for your partnership. Always do a background check of the head of the company for possible problems personality conflicts.
Secondly, take a long look at the other company's corporate culture. A lot of potential problems can crop up when your company's laid-back style clashes with a the fast-paced one of your partner's. Your employees will be interacting and mingling with each other and creating a good rapport between them will be important. Envy and jealousy can throw a monkeywrench into this – not to mention expectations may not be met on both sides. Try to adjust or choose a more appropriate partner for your company.
Thirdly, the business side comes into play – draw up a list of what you need your partner to do. If you're looking for a distribution arm, check your prospective partner's market penetration and capabilities on delivering the product. If you're looking for R&D, look at the company's track record on developing technology. Always have a set idea of what you want, that way you won't be disappointed when you're looking for your partner to deliver the goods.
A company's track record is usually public record for the shareholders' benefit and if not, it's child's play to have a background check done on a company.
When you think about it, all of these can be summarized into one sentece: know who you're going into business with. Knowledge is power and that's the key to becoming successful in a joint venture.
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