I’ve discussed the potential to engage your collaborative network partners to grow the business and income through combined service offerings that engage partners in your network to support client initiatives that any one partner in the network would not be able to support alone.  This is a great means to expand market share and increase the revenue of the partners in the network.  In order to achieve these new business opportunities your network must be open to both recognizing the potential and then pairing up the service specialities of the network to meet the needs.  I see this as a potential for a new service that would identify the opportunities and then engage the network to bid and win the opportunities.  I see this as a variation on outsourcing the sales and marketing for your collaborative network extended services. 

This sales and marketing partner would also join the collaborative network to provide their specialized services to grow the revenue for the network.  This new type of partnership for the collaborative network would allow your network to step up to the next level of performance and value.  This would be accomplished by performing a SWOT analysis of the market place needs to identify areas of opportunity to target with the collaborative network services.  You will notice that I am consistent with the tools and methods that I suggest, in this case the SWOT analysis.  This is not because of a limitation on the tools that are available, it is because the consistent use of the SWOT analysis supports a consistent method of comparison.  I believe this methodology provides the means to easily and consistently build a repository of valuable information for future use.

This new addition to the collaborative network partners provides a new method to group the partners, this time though rather than the partners supporting the the needs of the internal partners they are supporting the needs of external clients.  This opens a whole new business channel that can be supported by the network.  This new business channel must be nurtured, though, and engaged through the focus of the new marketing and sales partners to realize maximum value.  The new marketing and sales partners realize the benefit through sharing in the revenue generated by these new opportunities. 

This is not something that should be engaged too early in the life cycle of the collaborative network though.  In order to bring value to the network your collaborative framework must first be in place and working to support the needs of your partners.  It is important to build the solid partnership framework before engaging new sales initiatives that will test that framework.  Without that solid collaborative partnership framework that is embraced by the network you will not be successful in offering the partnership network services to outside customers.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

How do you identify and address new opportunities in your current business market?  Have you ever tried to develop a SWOT focused on new business opportunities or new markets  to evaluate the fit for partnership and as a means to address and meet new opportunities?  Do you regularly develop a SWOT analysis to evaluate your internal capabilities and needs to support new business and market opportunities?