On March 14 – 16, UFI will be conducting its 2011 Middle East Open Seminar in Sharjah, UAE. The theme of the three days is, “Discovering Regional Opportunities.”
Amongst the high-profile rostrum of speakers is Simon Parker, Group Director for UBM of London. His presentation is called “Successful Partnerships.” I had a chance to ask Simon a few questions pertaining to his presentation:
Barry: What are the essential strengths a company should have before they think about partnering?
Simon: Not necessarily “strengths” but some of the key questions they should consider are:
- Why do you need a partner?
- Do both parties bring something to the table and would the partnership be equitable?
- Are the cultures/ personalities/ systems compatible?
- Who is going to do what?
- What is the long term plan – what happens if it goes wrong?
Barry: What are the major pitfalls that companies have experienced with their local partnering initiatives and how can they be minimized?
Simon: I can articulate five areas:
- Lack of knowledge of each others business – Visit offices, shows, meet a wide cross section of the team
- Unexpected surprises – Do as much due diligence as possible
- Confused responsibilities – Agree to clear “rules of engagement”
- Unhappy marriage – Ensure clear exit strategy
- Unrealistic expectations – Agree on a clear “combined” strategy