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Successful Partnerships in Business With David Martin

Successful Partnerships in Business With David Martin

One of the solutions to helping grow your business could be looking towards a strategic partnership for growth. Josh is joined by David Martin from AI Group who is an expert on all things to do with successful partnerships in business.

David has been part of Australia’s Innovation Ecosystem for over 15 years and has worked at the executive level across multiple industries including large and small organisations to facilitate innovative solutions to complex and wicked problems. He has maximised opportunities for Australian industry in $88 billion dollars of major projects, delivered financial assistance of over $22 million dollars to innovative SMEs and pulled together over 150 commercially astute bleeding edge research/industry collaborations that have resulted in novel technology and jobs of the future.



Importance of Successful Partnerships in Business

After three years of COVID that brought changes in generational leadership, energy costs and finding skilled people, businesses are very challenged at the moment. Finding the right types of internal human capital to be able to undertake business now and moving forward is proving to be challenging for those in the small to medium range in particular.

What is really clear is the incredible value of partnering with like-minded organisations which can take many different patterns and ways of being undertaken. One of the keys to successful partnerships in business is having shared values as an organisation. It’s not very good partnering with an organisation if you have a very different outlook in how you should be undertaking particular engagements with regards to your clients or your potential customers.

Much like a marriage, even though you may have some core differences, what’s at the heart of a successful relationship of any kind is having a shared set of values, a shared purpose, and understanding of how you want to actually delight those customers, clients and other people, and make sure that at the end of the day, regardless who they primarily spend their time with, you or someone else, they come away satisfied and coming back.


Grow your business by having one of the leading MSPs in Southeast Queensland as your partner. Let’s talk how we can complement each other!


What is a strategic growth partnership?

Partnership growth strategy is being a whole person and not looking for another person to complete you. As a business, you should be great and fine, and you’re just looking for someone to compliment you.

How to Find the Right Partner for Your Business

I think the first and most important thing when looking for a business partner is really understanding who you’re getting into bed with. Much like dating, it’s about taking the time to understand who the other parties are, not making assumptions, learning what makes them happy, what doesn’t make them happy, and not over-promising and under-delivering.


1. Identify Your Needs

Before finding the right partner for your business, it’s important to ask why you want to partner. Is it because the tenders that you are going for are too big and you don’t have sufficient capacity to meet them? Do you have a very lumpy business? Some months are absolutely crazy and you don’t have enough people but some months you have too little business because it’s just the nature of what you do. If you would partner with someone who’s also lumpy, you can move staff between the two businesses and level it out. Not necessarily moving between the books, but subcontracting to each other in a way that’s appropriate and legal, but in a way of evening it out as well too.

Is it just because you recognise that there’s a sector that you haven’t really entered into yet? An example is you have a deep expertise and understanding of the mining industry, but you now want to move into agriculture. You’re looking for a partnership with someone who has credibility in that industry that allows you to give a soft entryway or a beachhead into it. Identify partners who can help maximize your access to new customers.

The key thing before we ask about how to find the right partner for your business is to ask why you want to do it. It’s a gap analysis. It’s about understanding the market.

Now is a great time to step back and say, why? Where are we heading? Are our goods and services still fit for purpose? Are they still delighting our customers? When you understand your why, what you have to offer and your value proposition, then you can go out and find a business partner that is actually going to complement what you’re doing rather than compete with you and other things.


When technology is aligned with your business goals, your vision is achieved. Find out how we can complement your business!


2. Your Business Model Dictates Your Partnership

Your business model will have a complete understanding of your type of relationship with the client. If it’s a transactional relationship with the client, you don’t actually have a deep understanding of what keeps them awake. An example of this is eBay. Their customers see something, they buy it and they wander off. In a transactional relationship, you never actually touch the client or take the time to intimately understand what keeps them awake at night.

But on the other hand, if what you are selling is a deep understanding of what keeps them awake at night, being a partner with that particular client means not just selling a solution, but also understanding why they actually need that solution. In that particular case, that’s your key brand and your brand is the promise you actually make to your client. You absolutely have to do your homework before you actually bring another person on board.

A great way of doing that is some pilots or some dry runs first with some small projects where there isn’t going to be any blowback and you can observe them working with your client, making sure that your own team is doing what they’re meant to be doing and then developing it from there.


3. What Is Your Unique Value Proposition?

Clients Affect Workplace Culture

It’s only by truly understanding your unique value proposition or your unfair competitive advantage that you can then understand how you can then enhance that through successful partnerships in business. And your value proposition is also going to enhance your business partner as well.

The key thing here is that it’s not usually a transactional relationship. It’s about intimately understanding what you are, what you have to offer, and how you are going to delight your customers. If you are partnering with someone and they’re leading things in a direction you don’t feel comfortable, then you can have a complete understanding why you don’t actually have to continue that relationship onwards.


4. Don’t Jump in Fast

You don’t hop into marriage straight away. You tend to play the field, meet lots of interesting people over coffee. Inevitably, finding the right partner for your business is all about learning more about who they are, their values and what they do.

Before even starting to work with a client, with another partner or even a frenemy, it’s really important to understand what values they have and how they do business, and to make sure that you’re aligned before actually going out and doing the job.

You have to understand that when you partner with someone, your brand and your reputation in the marketplace can either be enhanced or hampered by theirs as well too. You really have to be certain of the situation. You get painted with the same brush with who you actually associate with. When partnering with someone, making sure that you have a complete understanding of their reputation and their brand’s reputation in the marketplace is actually critically important.

My favourite saying is the most heavily traded commodity in the world is trust. It really comes down to would I trust that person with my clients? Will they do the job in the way that is only something that comes from time and understanding.


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5. Listen to Your Gut

The other thing I’ve learnt is that as I get older, I’ve learned to listen to my gut more. It’s funny, the number of times I have overruled it and I’ve met someone and my gut has said I don’t like this person or there’s something about them that doesn’t see it right for me, even though they’re perfectly mannered and they’re doing everything right. It’s bitten me in the backside later on because I didn’t listen to it.

At the end of the day, if your gut says something’s off, then you should probably poke around a bit more before building partnerships, speak to a few more people out there and listen. Most of the time, you’ll find out a reason why your gut or your intuition was off, even though all the data looks right.


Look Outside the Box

QUT’s Graduate School of Business has a work integrated learning programme. For people to graduate from their master’s degree or their undergraduate degree, they actually have to undertake what’s called a workplace project. They get out there and get opportunities to partner with people with a lot of life experience. That’s also a way of getting someone in to look at your strategy, marketing or other aspects of your business. It’s also a way of developing a relationship with them so that when they do graduate, they come and work for you rather than companies like Amazon.


David’s Favourite Business Book

David’s favourite business book is an old classic and one that everyone will roll their eyes with: How to Win Friends and Influence People. It has got an awful reputation because everyone’s read the first half and never actually completed it and understood that a whole part of that is about integrity and a whole range of other things rather than just trying to get someone to buy something that you’re trying to sell them.

It’s a fantastic book and deeply insightful. It’s one of the keystone books that I love. And if you’ve never read it before or if you haven’t read it in ages, I strongly recommend going back and revisiting it again.


Business Built Freedom for David

I think freedom in a business is the freedom to actually run the business rather than the business running you. I’ve lost count of the number of business owners who don’t pay themselves a salary, who have the business ruling their lives rather than actually allowing themselves to sit back, strategically guide it and feel confident at some stage in their life being able to hand it over and to continue on its merry way. Too many business owners are trapped because they are the person with the reputation. They’re the person who’s the best at doing the job. For many people, their business is their superfund. Business freedom, so to speak, for me, is being able to run the business, step back from the business if you need to, and it keeps on going on its own on its merry way.

– David Martin

How David Can Help You

If you are interested in learning more about successful partnerships in business, connect with David Martin on Linkedin.

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