#Asia Why your startup needs a partner NOW!


Startups do not need to partner with other startups, rather, agreements with MNCs and government agencies can be mutually beneficial


Business is never a fair playground.

And it’s even harder for startups to be competitive against multinational corporations or government-linked companies — often backed by enormous resources, capital, suppliers, partners and distribution channels. However, this does not mean that they do not have what it takes to lead or dominate the market.

Startups these days are getting more sophisticated and tech-savvy in line with the increasing competition in the market. To be able to compete with the rivalries, leveraging on the right partners will not only allow access to new markets with low costs, but also increase the values of your business structure as well.

Younger generations are well-equipped with creativity and innovations and bring both ideas and an ability to execute them. But what they lack is the skill to negotiate and persuade. In order to grow a business, assistance and support from as many business partners and affiliates is a must.

The next step is building and maintaining a relationship to survive in the long-term.

To do that, the entrepreneurs must know how to persuade other business players to come on board and jump into a relationship in which both parties can have differentiating strengths or values to play off one another for mutual benefit.

Founders need to establish and be aware of both their startup’s and prospective partner’s competitive advantage. Understanding value is important to nail partnership pitches to ensure a higher chance of materialisation.

Also Read: Spreading wings: Singapore’s Fundnel partners with regional angel network BANSEA

After all, a win-win situation can only be achieved if only both parties have something significant to contribute to one another.

Though achieving synergy, here are the benefits that can be exploited from strategic partnership and joint venture:

Wider network

Be it distribution points, suppliers, consumer market or even prospective investors, two is always better than one. Two startups with completely different business structure can complement each other once they find the link.

Having exposure to each party’s stakeholders, they may leverage on that to increase their market shares, better suppliers, various marketing platforms and even prospective investors to substantially boost the startups.

Higher productivity

Each startup has its core competency and through partnership, they can delegate different task in accordance with skills and professions required. It can go a long way towards accomplishing tasks that might take forever or be an excruciating challenge for one company.

Entrepreneurs must face the fact that even a genius will face difficulty if they are expected to solve every issue. Asking for assistance from a partner will eventually be a positive move for the business itself.  Apart from that, they may even achieve economies of scale or better cost management through synergy in their operation and supply chain.

Learn from each other

Through partnership, startups can learn not only about operation performance, efficient management structure, but also various aspects of doing business in the changing landscape. Core values and innovations are valuable assets that cannot be developed on our own, but through learning progress.

By absorbing experience and core values through partnership, a startup can apply all these and upscale its effectiveness as well as efficiencies to operate, transform and adapt into the market.

A brief picture

Malaysian local payment device provider, Payallz Sdn Bhd, owned by Netx Holdings Bhd, has collaborated with United Arab Emirates (UAE)-registered Blackrockme Pvt Ltd to distribute mobile payment software, solution and/or service excluding hardware in Iran and UAE.

This will allow Payallz to venture into its maiden overseas market by riding on its partner, Blackrockme and learn about the market over time which can be its competitive value in the future.

Apart from working with businesses in similar level, developing partnership with multinational companies and government-linked companies is also vital to bring up the value of a startup. As the old saying, if you can’t beat them, join them.

Having a trusted brand as partner will certainly boost the startup’s credibility and brand image when it comes to persuading other investors, business associates and clients for trust. However, it requires a lot of hard work and persuasion in order to get a partnership with these established corporations.

First question that will pop out from their side is why do they need a startup as a partner? What does the startup offer that can complement or enhance the corporation’s value?

Answering these questions is important as it determines the startup’s leverage to secure the partnership and company’s position as well. Regardless of the size of the prospective partner, it is a courtesy and respect to prepare a presentation well before meeting them for negotiation and discussion.

Malaysia as a part of Asia, is still predominantly banking on relationships when it comes to business. So networking and getting a hold of the people in these corporations require a lot of time spent studying and laying the ground-work to initiate the deal.

Also Read: Moving east: New York City’s WeWork signs first partnership in Asia with Beijing’s TechTemple

Fortunately, through the advanced social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter, more business associates from different background and level of management are able to gather and exchange information with each other.

Apart from that, business conferences and seminars provide good platform to exchange name cards and initiate conversation with people who might come in handy in the future for any startup.

Entrepreneur journey is never easy, especially with the increasing competition in the market. Position your startup’s competence and treat every single contact as a valuable asset.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

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