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Four strategic business partnerships that have helped grow these businesses

Partnerships have helped to fuel the growth of some of the world’s biggest companies. Coca Cola became what it is today by partnering with bottlers and manufacturers. By ensuring neighbourhood shops around the world had a Coca-Cola sign displayed outside, it gained unprecedented brand awareness, becoming one of the most known and recognised brands in the world.

At different stages of their growth many businesses find themselves in need of a partner to help further their goals. By forming strategic partnerships, you can often leapfrog on progress. Done right, a good partnership can have a tremendous impact on company growth, from increasing sales and reaching new markets to driving efficiency in your operations.

Entrepreneurs, CEOs and executives from across various industries discuss how different strategic partnerships have helped to grow their businesses.

Partnerships for business growth

Aisha Pandor, CEO of SweepSouth, says that, ‘in today’s age of collaboration, finding like-minded businesses to create alliances with can be a valuable tool in taking your company to greater heights.’

Since their launch in 2014, SweepSouth have formed many partnerships with companies such as Unilever, FlySafair, FNB, @home, Superbalist and NetFlorist, and it’s one of the smart strategies that’s propelled them from being a small tech start-up to taking their leader board place as SA’s largest home services platform, with expansion into Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt.

‘When we first partnered with other companies, we sought them out, but we’ve had such tangible results that it’s become a more organic process for us, with companies now seeking us out for strategic alliances,’ says Pandor.

Alliances that complement your activities can be crucial to business growth however it is important that you evaluate growth plans first in order to find a partnership that aligns with those.

When it comes to growing a business, 25-year-old Cameroonian health entrepreneur and Anzisha Prize fellow Melissa Bime says, ‘Finding strategic business partners is crucial.’

Bime founded INFIUSS, an online blood bank and digital supply chain platform in Cameroon that ensures patients in hospitals get lifesaving blood when and where they need it. The partnerships she’s formed with local hospitals and driver-partners who move the blood across the hospital networks (and to patients) has enabled her to scale her business, which now employs 15 young people.

‘I have only been able to grow in business and in my entrepreneurial career because I have people around me that made time to advise me on issues that I would have never had known, discovered or understood on my own,’ adds Bime.

Partnerships on the ground

Zoho has partnered with communities on the ground and opened 59 new global hub-and-spoke offices in rural areas and small cities in the last two years. Zoho has built its business by being a partner that helps people thrive.

‘Aside from providing cost effective, yet built-for-scale products and regionally located offices, Zoho enables communities to flourish by providing on–the-ground support and frameworks to enable them to use technology effectively,’ says Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager, Africa – Zoho Corp.

Initiatives include partnerships with local organisations and government bodies to lower the technology adoption barrier for businesses and upskilling courses in association with educational institutes.

Strategic partnerships for enhanced customer value

Great partnerships can help even well-established brands gain a competitive advantage, helping each brand to offer stronger value to their clients. When selecting a company to partner with in this way, think about what makes sense to your business and to your clients, and what service or product would benefit them most.

‘Whether guests are travelling for business or leisure, their stay at a hotel is meant to evoke feelings of being cared for and made to feel relaxed and special,’ says Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront Guest Relations Manager, Nicol Carelse.

‘We try to include as many elements of surprise and delight as possible, such as an extra offering at breakfast or dinner, or discounted spa experiences for guests. We chose to partner with Amani Spa and Wellness to give guests an added element of care during their stay. The partnership also means we’re able to differentiate our accommodation offering to include corporate wellness packages, and for our inner-city locations, an urban escape amidst the surrounding hustle and bustle.’

‘Thinking out of the box about which brands to strategically partner with plays a big role when considering strategic partners,’ says Jonathan Hurvitz, CEO of Teljoy, SA’s foremost rent-to-own provider. Value creation is a dynamic, evolving part of the company’s overall strategy, with the success of its subscription-based business relying heavily on mutually beneficial partnerships with brands and suppliers.

‘Providing value needs to be dynamic, with strategic partners staying hyper-aware of the changing needs and demands of customers, and what their perceived markers of value are. At the same time, it’s crucial that all the partners involved benefit equally in terms of brand exposure and/or sales,’ explains Hurvitz.

Safely using fintech to save with a security partner 

Upnup is a South African microsavings app that allows clients to accumulate Bitcoin by rounding up their transactions and purchases. To further enhance security around transactions, they partnered with Stitch to allow customers to automatically move funds from their linked bank account into their upnup wallet.

Payments and data API Stitch allows customers to link their financial accounts to their favourite app or platform for the purpose of making fast, secure payments directly from their banks.

‘From upnup’s perspective, it’s a no-brainer to go the payment route through Stitch rather than have customers link their cards,’ says Justin Asher, Head of Strategy and Marketing at upnup. ‘It’s a lot more secure for customers, as well as upnup as a company.’

In today’s age of collaboration, finding like-minded businesses to create alliances with can be one of your most valuable tools in taking your company to greater heights. In our ever-more connected world, successful partnerships can go beyond signing paper contracts to building valuable relationships that form the stepping stones for exciting new ventures.

Image credit: Razvan Chisu / Unsplash

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