You’ve got a friend in me: how strategic partnerships help business

By Steve Lemon, VP of Business Development and Co-Founder, Currencycloud.

What can businesses learn from Toy Story’s famous ‘you’ve got a friend in me’ theme song? Just as Woody and Buzz only reached their true potential once they worked together, collaboration is key to business success today. Especially in an environment where the customer is increasingly king.

The consumer’s word is final

Technology has opened customers up to a world of possibilities where they can switch to the competition at the tap of a button if they are not satisfied with a service, or if they just fancy a change.

What’s more, initiatives like Open Banking and GDPR are putting more power in the hands of consumers than ever before. In this environment creating not just a seamless but also an innovative customer experience is vital for businesses to remain competitive.

But in the midst of trying to ensure compliance with these regulatory initiatives, and juggling all other business requirements, many are struggling to find the time to create this extraordinary customer journey. Luckily, all hope is not lost. In today’s building block economy, partnerships could really help businesses put clients back in the front seat.

A workload shared, is a workload halved

By focusing on working with one key strategic partner or supplier, businesses can take some of the pressure off of trying to juggle all areas of the business alone, and reap the rewards.

While the ideal partner will vary for every business, looking for one with similar viewpoints, aspirations and goals, but who can also challenge your business to do better, is a good starting point for success.

There are plenty of benefits to forming a strategic partnership, and each business will have different needs, and thus different benefits to reap. But there are a number of advantages that tend to apply across the board.

Network: no border too big

Offering expanded networks – infrastructural, geographical, or for other areas of business – is important in today’s global economy. But, having the time to dedicate to it is wishful thinking for many.

Say, for example, you run a digital marketplace and need to be able to make and receive payments from across the globe. Setting up the infrastructure required to do this yourself would be a monumental task. So, a strategic partnership with a fintech payment platform that allows your business to trade across multiple currencies, settle internationally and simultaneously process pay-outs, is key to not just allowing you to expand your business but doing this in a cost-effective way. Especially compared to the alternative of using some legacy providers who may eat into your margins with large growing fees, and slow opaque processes. The resulting cost savings from working with the fintech partner can then be passed onto the customer.

Technology: as easy as plugging in

As a small business (or even a larger one with legacy structures) putting in the time and money to constantly build, or acquire new technology systems can leave your business running short on both ends.

By partnering with someone who specialises in, or can offer this technology to you – for example, an expert application programming interface (API) provider – you and your clients can access it without the total cost of implementation and ownership. Using an already built structure from your partner also means that the some of the burden of compliance is lifted from your shoulders.

Simultaneously, giving you access to the building blocks needed to create entirely new and unique products and services for your clients, helping you to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Time: always a little extra to spare

There’s a reason the saying ‘time is money’ is so popular. From your suppliers, to clients, and partners – time is valuable for everyone. A truly strategic partner can help free up time by removing some of your worries and headaches.

For example, working with a partner who is fully compliant and understands the regulatory environment in different markets means that you don’t have to. This is time that you can instead spend with your key, strategic clients – something that is ever more important in today’s business world. Being able to keep your clients happy, and engaged with your businesses is key to expanding and growing your offering, something that you can only do if you have time to spend on them.

Building to last

The building block economy means that you no longer need to stand alone, but rather can partner with businesses that can help plug any gaps you might have, or just enhance your offering all together. By saving you valuable time and money, and giving you the power to put your customers first, strategic partnerships will help you build a business to last.

Even though senior payment executives think that partnering with start-ups is the best way for established payment firms to innovate, the business might not always have the required technology and systems for collaboration. This shows that there is still a way to go to make collaboration the norm. But even if you only have a few building blocks in place, it is still better than none at all.

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