10 Mar Choosing Your Partners
In business, you’re always building partnerships. Whether it’s with your local banker, your suppliers, or your tax and legal advisors, choosing the right business partners is critical to your long-term success. If you’re doing business internationally, partnerships can become even more important. When you reach that critical point of expanding your business significantly across borders, you need a capable and trustworthy network of shippers, in-country legal experts, distributors, sales agents, and more.
Start with some simple research on your own. Visit the potential partner’s website and social media pages to get a feel for their professionalism, reach, and reputation. Scan the “About” pages to learn what’s important to them, how well they’re established in the industry, and how they operate. Search company officers on LinkedIn for insight into their background and qualifications, and read any recommendations from their peers.
Take it a step further by researching key financial and trading information through sites like Dun & Bradstreet, Standard & Poor’s, Kompass, and Coface. Who are their key customers? What is their financial health? Media searches are also helpful in uncovering any bad news or legal troubles that might be otherwise difficult to discover. Reach out to trade groups, chambers of commerce, industry and trade associations, and your own network of investor and advisor networks, including your accounting and law firms, to get information on potential partners. Putting the time in up front will protect you from trouble later on.
Finally, request a face-to-face meeting with a company officer. An in-person meeting is optimal, because it gives you the chance to see their facility and operations as well. However, if it’s too inconvenient to travel, a WhatsApp, Skype, or Google Hangout appointment will suffice. Ask for details on how they work with their current clients and partners, and don’t leave without at least three references that you can contact for third-party opinions.
By Nina Gibbs, Managing Director
Savi Global provides business planning and advising, marketing strategy, and translation and interpretation services to American companies working globally and to internationals starting business in the U.S. For more tips, advice, and resources for your global business, subscribe to Savi Global’s monthly eNewsletter.