As a business leader or business owner strategic alliances are a very important part of your business development plan. Strategic alliances can be mutual referral sources where you refer prospects to them and they refer to you or they may be people or companies that offer another type of mutually beneficial relationship. It may be easiest to view strategic alliances as those people or companies with which you can attain mutual, although possibly different benefits.
For example, as a business coach I may form an alliance with an accountant, where I may provide business coaching to help him or her improve the results of their accounting business and the accountant may provide bookkeeping services to my business. This is a mutually beneficial relationship.
Real estate agents may have a strategic alliance with a home stager, photographer, locksmith, mover, printer, or graphic designer. A home remodeler such as Creative Remodeling Solutions may have alliances with a real estate agent, painter, local home improvement supply stores, and interior designers.
Some strategic alliances may not be as obvious as those listed above. For example, there may be a strategic alliance between a retirement residence, home medical equipment company and a funeral home – these are all services that seniors and their families may need.
A great way to form alliances is to join a networking club such as Business Network International (BNI). BNI has 267 chapters in Canada and they are each member networking clubs that bring together non-competing businesses for business networking and referral marketing (www.bnicanada.ca). Here the members share information on their business with each other and there is an expectation that each member refers business to the others. It is a great way to get word of mouth referrals for your business and have a referral network open to you. You can either join a local BNI chapter or start your own!