On February 22, we had the privilege of working with GoToWebinar to bring together an esteemed Strategic Partnerships Expert Panel which I was honoured to host. The event was essentially an extensive online forum where key insights and discussions on partnership trends, advice, issues, and important information were discussed and shared with over 750 business people.

It was filled to the brim with everything you need to know about partnerships and included excellent audience insights from their participation in polls.

For those of you who missed it or want a salient recap, we’ve pulled out the key take outs for your benefit however for maximum benefit we encourage you to listen to the full recording here.

Meet Our Esteemed Panel of Experts

Simone Novello is the Founder and Managing Director of Partner2GROW and is considered Australia’s foremost strategic partnership authority. She anchors the webinar with invaluable insights leveraging off the proven and proprietary system she developed after being involved in hundreds of partnerships over the last two decades worth hundreds of millions of dollars with leading brands, including American Express, Commonwealth Bank, and Virgin Australia.

We were proud to host Kate Carnell the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman since March 2016. It’s a big and important role and speaks volumes about the experience she brings to the webinar. Aside from running her own small business for 15 years, Kate was CEO for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Food and Grocery Council and Australian General Practice Network (AGPN). She is a genuine authority and shared key information about the growing number of partnership related cases her office is seeing.

Meet Janine Zappini, Founder and CEO of a successful start-up, Simply Raw. Janine is what every start-up entrepreneur wants to be in five years time. Hearing first-hand what-to-dos and, just as importantly, what-not-to-dos when it comes to partnership will certainly help you out!

Rounding out the webinar panel with pragmatic partnership legal advice is Geoff Roberson, commercial lawyer, litigator and Principal of Stacks Champion. Geoff knows all about strategic partnerships, with a long history in protecting and defending numerous clients in all kinds of good and bad partnerships.

Let’s get started, shall we?

The Polls – Audience Insights

We were extremely keen to learn from the audience and ensure the webinar panel was focussed on what was going to add the most value. We ran several polls which delivered fantastic audience insights about their knowledge and experience of partnerships. Check them out below.

It’s exciting to see this because referrals can be viewed as a form of partnership with your customers or audience. Find one great client happy to extol your virtues and you’ll have an authentic way to get the word out about your business in a positive way! Strategic partnership is really referrals on steroids where you find a partner who can do this for you en masse!

Over three quarters of attendees had been involved in or approached for strategic or marketing partnership again highlighting the importance of the topic for the business community. Being approached for partnership is a sure fire sign that your assets are being noticed so you want to make sure you are prepared for these fantastic opportunities.

Do you know the difference between a marketing partnership, strategic partnership, and joint venture? Well, if you don’t you’re not alone as 61% of our webinar audience wasn’t sure either! Good thing this webinar can help you differentiate and avoid confusion. How can you form a successful partnership if you’re not sure what to ask for or what the options are?

A marketing partnership is like dating – there’s no real commitment (yet), but partners can start to focus on getting some quick wins by running Marketing campaigns together and evaluating how good a fit they really are. It’s the perfect place to start any relationship.

A strategic partnership is where the dating has gone well and you’re both looking for new and exciting ways to help each other grow; something more solid and longer term. Think of it like an engagement that starts to go beyond movie night and into sharing more resources for mutual benefit.

A joint venture is, well, like a marriage, way more committed both legally and professionally between two (or more) parties. It’s essential to know the difference or you may find yourself scratching your head about why your ‘first date’ ran a mile when you started talking marriage!

While 25% of attendees had achieved great success through their partnerships, a whopping 62% believed it could have been better with only 14% a complete failure. So the overall consensus was that it is a powerful way to build and protect your company but you really have to know how to get it right – it’s one aspect of business you just can’t afford to wing – yet so many people do – mostly because they don’t know there’s help available. Connecting with partners isn’t hard, especially on great networking sites like LinkedIn. What’s hard is connecting with partners who can give you sustainable growth – it’s about knowing who the right partners are.

At around the 30-minute mark, we showed via the UN, GE, PwC, and other leading brands and media outlets, why having partnership capability helps you stay ahead of the curve. What are your best partnership opportunities right now? Once you have the right strategy, finding the connection through sites like LinkedIn is the easy bit. But connections on their own are not enough – most of us have plenty right? The million dollar question (literally) is how do you leverage them for mutual benefit? The answers are in the webinar.

So, What’s the Really Big Partnership Opportunity Right Now?

The biggest opportunities right now are partnerships between bigger and smaller companies. However, you’ve got to know the drivers and barriers involved since understanding these will lead to key insights your business can exploit and help you overcome likely objections and issues.

We covered, and it’s important to understand, the three common partnership mistakes and how to avoid them while understanding how to leverage the four key benefits of partnerships. Ultimately the secret to success is having the right mindset and ensuring you have a proven approach which was elaborated further in the webinar.

Almost an hour into the webinar, Janine from Simply Raw gave fantastic firsthand insights for start-ups. From a failed partnership and the red flags you must watch for to the power of partnerships when done well, she says building trust is extremely important. So is being aware of how much to give and when.

Janine also revealed that the conduct of one of the companies she was involved with was ultimately damaging to the Australian economy, and one of the reasons the panel came together with GoToWebinar to raise awareness about the alarming trends and incredible opportunities. Her experience further established the notion that a win-win result is better for the economy. The audience were all rooting and hoping for a positive outcome for Janine!

Staying Out of the Court System

Kate discussed how the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman was set up to help small business stay out of the court system. Situations like what Janine encountered are classic examples and the ASBFEO can certainly help. With the Australian Government pressuring multinationals to partner with small businesses, Kate talked about the rise in cases her office was seeing where the small guys were being left out in the cold once tenders were won. She reinforced the importance of ensuring you go about your partnerships in the right way – and get everything in writing!

The later stages of the webinar bring us back to trust. Should you get a confidentiality agreement before entering into a strategic partnership? Legal expert Geoff talks about the risks when small businesses try to enforce agreements with much larger companies. Sometimes, the bigger the company, the more they’ll try to bully you into an arrangement that’s not in your best interests. Success largely comes down to the courting period (which will keep you out of court!) and laying a solid foundation – the agreement alone won’t save you if you’re dealing with a partner with long arms and deep pockets.

Clever Ways to Succeed in Partnerships

As expected, clever methods for succeeding in mutually-beneficial partnerships were also discussed, much to the appreciation of the online audience. One key point is to maintain a diverse portfolio with partners of varying size – but ensure you have a focussed strategy. Kate stressed that you should value your intellectual property—big businesses understand that you need to protect your interests and will respect you for being an astute business person for proactively safeguarding your IP at the appropriate time. Don’t get pressured into one-sided agreements; ensure you are confident about what you bring to the table.

Remember, major established corporations are ready and willing to partner with companies of any size, shape, or form if they have something they need. Think what you can gain from an alliance with a giant company with massive international resources – that said, remember that it’s not the biggest partner that will get you the best result – it’s the best aligned partner! Just be careful and make sure it’s a win-win situation.

Other Partnership Topics and Issues

There were several other topics that were tackled during and after the webinar including how cross-cultural partnerships can be impactful, how to effectively protect your intellectual property, and measuring the value associated to a strategic partnership. It’s unfortunate that the webinar had to end as we would have preferred to discuss these issues in a more in-depth manner. The good news is we’ll be coming up with several blogs that will do just that, so stay tuned to our blog section!

Watch the Full Recording Now!

Of course you want to! This blog is merely a summary of some of the webinar’s most important points and doesn’t compare to watching the whole thing. So, we recommend that you get comfortable with a drink and snack, and click this link for the full recording!

As always, you can contact us at Partner2Grow if you need further advice or help with partnerships and building partnership capability. Or perhaps you need the help of the ASBAFEO or a lawyer? All their contact details are on the webinar slides 😉 Happy partnering!


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