Strategic Business Partnerships

By The Revman

Strategic Business PartnershipsI went to a great meeting held today at the PW Chamber led by Jeff Brown of Pangea Global. He did an excellent job at facilitating the meeting by keeping everyone involved and offering great advice.

Jeff talked about several aspects of forming a SBP from looking at the key motivators, the risks, the criteria, questions to ask, and much more. Developing SBPs is not an easy task and requires much thought and planning.

Jeff started with what is a SBP? Good place to start. There are several levels of business relationships but according to Jeff a SBP is defined as…

A relationship that bridges the gap between a full merger and a single length transaction.

Jeff started out with the key motivators and listed several examples in his outline. He stressed the importance of understanding the “why” of building SBPs as the first step in developing effective SBPs. Other thought provoking questions he included were:

  • What is it you want out of the relationship?
  • How will it help both you and your potential partner?
  • Will it allow you to compete for larger contracts and customers?
  • Will it allow you to provide expanded solutions without added cost?

One has to understand the “why” of building SBPs before it can work for you.

Jeff then talked some about the risk involved with SBP. From new partners stealing clients to new partners not performing, and to who owns the relationship are just a few of the many risks Jeff mentioned when thinking about forming a SBP. Do any of you have any stories that we can learn from?

Because of the nature of relationship I develop with many of our clients I see many needs that go beyond what we would consider our sweet spot. But because my main goal is to help companies grow, I find myself diving into many different areas of a company. So for several years now I have tried to develop many different versions of a SBP, from a group of experts to service the client’s needs to partnering with specific companies to offer certain solutions that others can provide at a higher level then we can. I have various levels of success, but nothing to write home about.

One result of this event for RevBuilders is that it may be better for us to not develop SBPs, but instead develop the necessary capabilities internally to service our clients.

Jeff talked about many other aspects, but I would love to hear from others that attended his meeting and see what you learned. Please make comments and let us hear from you.


  1. Scot – good synopsis of the great information provided by Jeff. I agree that in the services you provide your clients they want to know one company is managing the entire responsibility for generating results from their sites. As a “services” provider, a more logical SBP might be for hardware, where there is a distinctly different expertise required but where synergy between the areas will assist the customer to have a smooth operation. – Pat

  2. Pat – that is a great idea. I will have to think on it some.That would make good sense for an SEO Company. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Thanks Scot for starting this and thanks to every one who participated.

    One valuable concept Scot (The Revman) introduced is the “hedgehog”. The concept is described in great deal as it applies to business in Jim Collins’ landmark book, “Good to Great”. Basically the hedgehog is the paragon of focus. He does one thing, but he does it better than any one else. The fox is clever and seems capable of doing many things. But in the end, the hedgehog becomes the very best at what he does and outwits the fox every time. One take away for me is that two hedgehogs make a better SBP than two foxes. That is as long as the hedgehogs complement each other. Perhaps this is a crucial test of a potential business ally?

  4. I had to laugh I just saw two foxes sitting around outwitting each other and getting nothing done while the hedgehogs had built a city under them. My daughter Hannah has a hedgehog for a pet and I can tell you all it does is dig. It is what they do. Great point Jeff.

    Thanks again Jeff for taking the time to lead the meeting today.

  5. Thanks Jeff for facilitating the meeting. I had attended a roundtable about a year ago on the same subject. Becky O’Brien w/ Shaklee was the facilitator. It’s interesting how the same topic created different conversation. The meeting with Becky geared towards building your sphere and thinking out side the box. Example for me the obvious are lenders, movers, title companies, other agents out of my area… Out of the box SBP could be both you as well as Jeff. Both of you deal with businesses. These business have employee’s who need to buy/sell/ rent a house. In turn I could have clients who need services that both you and Jeff offer. By building SBP with each other it creates a whole new pool of prospects to work from.

  6. Scot,

    I’ve never been a huge fan of strategic partnerships unless they can address the incentive (usually pronounced “cash”). Doesn’t mean some short term partnering or subcontracting isn’t good, but I think too many companies, large and small, use partnerships when they want to test the waters, but not jump off the 10 meter tower!

    I’m sending this to the board of the HGBA ( as we discuss the partnership relationships we should have with the Chambers. We need to consider these 4 points.

    Was sorry to miss the Roundtable, you know how I love those!


  7. Hey Jamie, you know I feel the same way, we have had many a conversation on this topic. Partnerships are tough to get right. Especially as an SEO company we have been trying to find a company to partner with on the web design side of things for a few years and it has just never worked out. I agree that the subcontracting and short term projects seem to work better in most cases.

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