Legal - Andrew Barnes
Andrew is President of ALPMA and Financial Controller of the Lantern Legal Group.
- Collaborate with businesses with complementary skills. Sharing of complementary skills and experiences can provide big benefits. Start by agreeing on a clear plan to collaborate on a product, service or project. This helps independently owned businesses develop a capability or service a market niche and is often a better option than raising capital or extending finance facilities.
- Foster good teamwork. Ensure your staff work well together. Too often businesses have talented individuals or teams yet they operate in a silo. The right compensation and recognition system can encourage a ‘greater good’ environment. Foster good teamwork with Smarter leadership advice.
- Seek partnership opportunities. A partnership is a great way for like-minded people or businesses to achieve something they would not be able to do separately. Industry associations are a great way to find potential companies. Invest in the membership fee and make time to attend and network at their events. Also visit your local Chamber of Commerce at: acci.asn.au. Don’t keep your business objectives a secret, someone somewhere can probably help you achieve them.
- Create formal agreements. If entering a large collaborative project or business partnership, make sure you have a formal, written agreement. You can find pro-forma partnership agreements online at: legalvision.com.au, but please find a law firm at: findlaw.com.au that is agreeable to all parties to have it explained and refined as needed.
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Business Partnerships - Paul Drum
Paul is Head of Policy at CPA Australia, one of the largest accounting bodies in Australia.
- Do your research. Before considering whether you need a partner, identify gaps that exist in your business’s capabilities. If you determine that a partner is the best way to fill any gaps, set out what skills, capabilities, experience, resources and personal qualities you require in a potential partner. Spend time with preferred candidates before making a decision.
- Set goals and a vision. Once you have selected a partner, together set goals and a vision for the partnership and list the expectations of partners.
- Establish joint decision-making structures. Create a governance structure for joint decision-making that tracks and, if necessary, tackles poor performance by partners and assists in conflict resolution. The governance structure should encourage regular, open and transparent communication between all partners.
- Have a written agreement. Partnerships should have some form of written agreement. For formal arrangements, such as where you co-own a business with partners, a written agreement should include clauses on admitting and removing partners, dissolving the partnership and partnership management. For formal partnership agreements, ask a lawyer with expertise in partnership law to review them.
Greater Collaboration - Will Irving
Will is Group Managing Director, Telstra Business.
- Get the right tools. SMEs are increasingly reliant on online tools to help keep their business running while out of the office. With this recent surge in mobility, business owners need mobile plans that give them confidence to use data when and how they need it. Telstra has launched new Go Business Mobile Plans with great value for calls and data, and a simpler way to measure any excess data usage. Built-in data sharing between mobiles and tablets on the same bill means you can get connected and collaborate. Visit Telstra Business Mobile Plans.
- Connect in the cloud. Once you have the right devices, the next step is to make the most of your mobility by working in the cloud – allowing for near real-time collaboration on documents on the go. Documents can be accessed by multiple people and changes easily made and synced across your workforce. Large files (like video or images) can be shared without taking up space in email inboxes. By working in the cloud, your work day can keep going with less disruption: Visit Telstra Cloud Services.
- Distance no longer a hurdle. With the right mix of technology, SMEs can collaborate with anyone on the go. Telstra’s new Cloud Collaboration Skype for Business merges the familiar user-experience of Skype with the business-grade features we expect from business technology. Redefining ‘the how’ is all you need to work as a team and stay productive. Brainstorm ideas, meet with customers and share ideas in near real-time. For further information, click here.
- Unlock those admin hours. While pen and carbon paper forms served us well over many years, they can now represent a waste of time. Mobile applications have the power to replace quoting, invoicing, job filing and other paper-based systems, allowing staff to work more efficiently. Visit the Telstra Apps Marketplace for more information at: marketplace.telstra.com.
Relationship Building - Ian Sutherland
Ian is Group Director of Marketing at Amalgamated Holdings Limited.
- Direct dialogue with customers. The retail market has changed. Customers want to interact with brands on their terms and at times that suit them. Ensure you have dynamic communications channels which allow you to quickly react to market changes and talk directly to your customers. Make sure the customer and customer satisfaction is at the centre of your loyalty strategy. Remember that social media is about being switched on around the clock. Set yourself up to hear customer feedback and deliver the kind of experiences your customers want.
- Partnerships are king. More and more businesses are investing time and resources into driving leading-edge commercial relationships. There are many opportunities for like-minded organisations to work together to create unique customer experiences, new sales opportunities and cooperative marketing activities. A great example is the Telstra Thanks® movies program that Event Cinemas, Greater Union, BCC Cinemas, Village Cinemas and Moonlight Cinemas deliver with Telstra.
- An old adage. We’ve all heard that it’s ‘who you know not what you know’, and this is still true. In the dynamic business world of today, it’s never been more important to be able to quickly reach out to contacts and partners to help drive growth, innovation and some new opportunities.