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Strategies for Successful Joint Ventures

Joint ventures may be the best way to stimulate growth when you have limited resources and skills that you are willing to devote to a particular channel of marketing. Joint venture marketing deals should be a part of the thinking of every executive who wants fast, impressive growth.

Joint venture marketing relationships can be extremely valuable. Every ambitious entrepreneur and marketing director should be open to them. Making them work, however, does take time and consume resources. And because you don't have unlimited time and resources, it makes sense to be strategic in selecting your joint venture partners.

* Look for strong partners - businesses that have significant skills and/or resources that you lack.

* Make sure that your contribution to the deal is equal to your partner's. An unbalanced partnership is not good for either party.

* Avoid partners you don't trust.

* If possible, limit the scope of the venture in the beginning and extend it as trust increases.

* Make agreements simple, but put them in writing.

* To avoid costly misunderstandings after the venture has begun, identify the value of each partner's contributions at the outset. These should include skills, intellectual resources, marketing resources, capital, and so on.

* In determining the value of those contributions, remember that fairness is not an exact number, but a range. Try to be flexible - and favor partners who demonstrate the same flexibility.

* Establish clear protocols at the beginning for amending or unwinding the relationship if it fails to meet expectations.

* Goodwill is essential for success. Goodwill means that you want your partner to benefit from the relationship as much as you do.

The idea is to develop joint venture relationships that are easy to maintain, financially profitable, intellectually rewarding, and long-lasting. After a necessary period of negotiation and implementation, you want the relationship to grow well and quickly and painlessly.

If you pick a weak or untrustworthy partner, the joint venture will eventually fail. If your partner sees you as weak or untrustworthy, the venture will also fail. If, on the other hand, you develop a reputation for being a good, trustworthy partner, good people will come to you and be happy with the terms you suggest.

Source: ETR,  9 Strategies for Successful Joint Ventures by By Michael Masterson and MaryEllen Tribby

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