November 26, 2009

Who can be a partner in my company…

We talk with many company shareholders while we explain them how to find a partner. Many of them repeat the same sentences: “We have a very special, niche business. Who can be a partner in our company other than our few competitors? (And they are not worth a try.)” ….

We all look at the world from very small angles. Moreover, we believe the picture that we thus see to be complete. When a group from a Far East company expressed their wish to visit one of our clients  in Turkey for a possible partnership, our client accepted the visit but said that they would have preferred to talk with Anglo-Saxon investors. I do not want to critisize the values and principles of our clients. When the visit was made, the owner of the Far East company made very illuminating and knowledgeable discussions with our client for two whole days and expressed openly the various future possibilities under a partnership. At the end of the visit our client told us that it is “an amazing and unbelievable world”. This final judgment is the reason why I have given this example.

The approximately 400 projects that we handle on the average annually throughout the world has taught us explicitly: not to be prejudiced.

Two months ago I talked with a meat producer in Bulgaria. He told me that he knew all of the meat producers in that geography. Obviously, he did not want to go into a partnership with any of them. (We usually face this warm (!) approach to competitors). He asked me, “Who can be a partner in my company?” I answered his question by telling him that a biscuit manufacturer in Germany could be a possible partner. He looked at me with questioning eyes, trying to determine if I knew the difference between meat and biscuits. I smoothly went on with my explanation, “You told me a few minutes ago that you make dispatches every other day to 10,000 sales points in Bulgaria. A German biscuit producer might be highly interested in such a distribution sysytem. Who knows, maybe they are even thinking of extending their business in other food products.”

We never know what has been decided in the board rooms of the companies that have an interest in our business, until we talk to each of them.

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