How to create effective strategic partnerships

As a private label skincare manufacturer, I form new strategic partnerships and execute on existing strategic partnerships every day. These partnerships include operating skincare brands, start-up skincare brands, marketing companies, raw material suppliers, or even my energy suppliers. More broadly defined, even the amazing people that are employed by my company are my strategic partners. In fact, the success of my private label skincare company is dependent upon effective strategic partnerships.

By formal definition a strategic partnership is an alliance between two enterprises that is formalized through a contract but is not a legal partnership. Typically companies create a strategic partnership when each has assets that will help the other but that each prefers not to develop internally. In the case of my personal care manufacturing business, our skincare brand strategic partners value us for our product development services, our manufacturing and contract packaging services, and our packaging and transportation logistics services. We in turn value the ability of our skincare strategic partners to form distribution channels and sell skincare products.

In order to create win/win strategic partnerships for your skincare brand consider the following questions:

1.    Who can I be more successful with and who will be more successful with me? In the case of our private label skincare manufacturing company, skincare brands form strategic partnerships with us for a number of reasons. They believe that we can create and package skincare products for them with the quality, price, and quantity that will make them effective business owners.
2.    What do they bring to the strategic partnership equation? In the case of our partnerships, we bring expertise and physical assets that are difficult to replicate and our customers bring sales and marketing skills.
3.    How can I make this a long term and sustainable strategic partnership? In the case of our business, finding a private label manufacturer can be a long and arduous process for our strategic partners. And then developing their skincare products can be even longer. It is an investment on both sides of the table and so finding a partner that you value and that truly values the work you do and the assets that you bring to the table is essential.
4.    Is my partner willing to share in the risk as well as the reward? In the case of my company we choose to work with even the smallest companies with the hope that our investment into them will grow over time. Many private label skincare manufacturers are unwilling to do this. Likewise we create strategic partnerships with startup raw material suppliers who we feel can provide the kind of quality we seek.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful as you consider how best to build your brand.
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