My name is Steven Craig Policastro. I am Founder/COO of The International Association for Creation, a global logistics management ministry that works to provide strategic guidance and tactical support to biblical worldview ministries and creation organizations around the globe while connecting Christians through commerce, education, and faith. I started the Orlando-based International Association for Creation in 2012 when a friend and I learned about a prayer need for a museum team in Washington state. What began as one act of faithful obedience, God used to begin a global network of Christian businesses, churches, families, and ministries. It is with this experience that I’d like to share with you the importance of strategic business partnerships and how you can utilize them in your pursuits.
Strategic business partnerships is fancy terminology for basically saying, “working together for a common purpose in the marketplace.” When it comes to strategic business partnerships it is important to know that there are many different avenues for achieving the end goal of working together.
In this writing, I will outline three of the most common methods used by businesses across the United States and abroad, which also are the three methods that we have successfully employed at The International Association for Creation.
The Conduit Strategic Business Partnership Method
The first process to achieve strategic business partnerships, and the one most commonly used today is the Conduit Method. This method relies upon the throughput of an organization through the ability of its leadership to see opportunities and needs across the marketplace and ensure the right connections are made between leaders on each side to benefit both parties involved. This method can be summarized as establishing point-to-point connections. An example of this would be establishing personal connections with fellow bloggers or home-based businesses that complement your company’s culture, product or service.
The Hub and Spoke Method
Another familiar system used today is called the Hub and Spoke Method. This method relies more heavily on a strong, centralized organization that can assist in bringing together partners with various skills and talents, then enabling them to find synergy between their efforts in order to work together on projects. This method is seen in the traditional model of blog networks, where writers join a collective and benefit by the ability each now has in finding others with common goals.
The Platform Method
The newest type of strategic business partnership is based upon the Platform Method. This innovative development has enabled the rise of Amazon as well as the revitalization of Wal-Mart. In the Platform method, it is important that one provides an ecosystem for others to come into and transact.
The Platform Method is seen in the way by which Amazon and Wal-Mart provide the backend products and services so that front-end users can interact with the general public through distribution and sales channels as well as find the support services they need to succeed with their end customer.
An example of the Platform Method would be where bloggers join an established guild to receive professional services and mutual benefit as they share their gifts and talents with the at-large community and individuals who are also members.
To determine which method is best for you, you will want to ensure that you know your brand, business goals, mission, strategy, and vision. All of these important elements can be customized for you with the help of other professionals in the field. (There’s a strategic business partnership right there!)
When implementing your chosen method, and to ensure its success, you’ll want to stay connected with veteran business owners like Alexis Mathews, with Premier Executive Media, and myself, Steven Craig Policastro, of The International Association for Creation, who can help you chart the course of your new adventure in strategic business partnerships.
Whether you are choosing to implement one of these strategies or all three, I can guarantee you that they each work.
When beginning The International Association for Creation, we started out by implementing the Conduit Method, which led to giving us a firm foundation as we continued to grow the ministry and see the Lord transition us more to a Hub and Spoke Method of strategic business partnerships, and recently we have had great success with employing the Platform Method to help our community thrive.
In the beginning, making point-to-point connections and building relationships is important to any business venture. Ensuring that you are making the most of each connection is vital, and that is where the Conduit Method provides you with a good framework to keep your business relationships strong for the long-term.
Once you have a myriad of connections, you then may choose to begin working among them as a “hub” that begins connecting your various relationships with one another so they, too, can benefit from each other on a broader scale.
As the people you are partnered with continue to work together in community, you will learn more about their needs and how you may be able to help meet some of those needs so they can continue to make more connections and work together in an ever-growing community.
A strong strategic business partnership is a cycle that builds upon itself, for mutual success.