Ask an owner of a small business if they want a partner and they look at you as though you are mad. Its true most of us don’t want or need an equity partner in our business, however it may not be possible to really succeed in business unless you embrace the notion of partnerships.

Rick Wolfe of Poststone Corp suggests that if you look at the biggest companies, almost everyone sells through partnerships. examples from Fortune 500 include, GM, IBM, Ford, Microsoft, Exxon, American Airlines. Each of these firms generate a huge percentage of their sales through partnering with other firms. Often these partners are relatively small firms.

Typically small businesses resist partnering and as a result stay small. The advantages of partnering include being able to leverage your partners assets without having to spend the money they did to develop the asset. These assets can include their products, their intellectual property, their trade secrets and their client base.

Today’s Action Plan.

If you don’t already partner with other businesses, particularly as a channel to market, you are missing a huge opportunity. What companies already deal with your customers and could be a channel for you to market through? What could you offer them that would make it worthwhile? Alternatively what products or services could you get from other suppliers to market to your customers?