The Power of Partnerships

While travelling recently in India I read about a fantastic co-operative wine business based there. Three rural farmers had got together to build a very profitable venture with an exciting future.

The farmers, while reasonably successful in growing onions and table grapes, were individually struggling to make a real impact. Taking a gamble, one of the farmers sent off a small selection of his grapes to a wine master based in France. The feedback was encouraging but the barriers to setting up a successful wine brand in an area not known for its wine making abilities were huge. Individually the farmers didn’t have the land or the money to even contemplate it. So he got together with the others so at least they would stand a chance.

Today those three farmers are the founding members of Vinsura Wine Park which has now grown to 35 members with an estimated 900 acres and a monthly production of 36,000 bottles. The effect of pooling talent and resource not only reduced the initial barriers to entry but has resulted in a thriving business.

Going into a business partnership can be a fairly daunting process for all parties involved. In the current economic climate many companies are looking to each other for assistance in building new ventures or offering new capability, as it makes complete sense. In my opinion there are two simple pre-requisites that must be met if any partnership is to be a success. The first is obvious: your offerings need to be complementary. The second: the partnership needs to work for both parties. Parity between all involved is essential.

The Indian farmers individually stood no chance, but together they have found a winning formula. The problems they faced aren’t unique. I wonder whether a partnership could be the thing you need to kick start your business?