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Can Forming Business Alliances and Strategic Partnerships Save Black Communities?

by Cathy Harris, Syndicated Columnist

July 13, 2017

Are you a solo business owner and your business has grown to include one or  more employees and you're looking for ways to expand your reach without  generating a lot of debt? Well the answer to your dilemma could very well be it's  time to form "business alliances" or "strategic partnerships" with other
Your company may have started out as a solo business and you still want it to  remain that way, but you need to see the value in making connections and joining  forces.  Most businesses go out of business within the first 5 years. A reason for this is  because many business owners never find ways to build or grow their  businesses, therefore, they go out of business.
With the current state of business today, small businesses need to always be  strategic and "think outside the box."  A "business alliance" is an agreement between businesses, usually motivated by  cost reduction and improved service for the customer.
A "strategic partnership" is a formal alliance between two commercial  enterprises, usually formalized by one or more business contracts, but falls short  of forming a legal partnership, or agency, or corporate affiliate relationship. In big business - alliances are often bound by a single agreement with risk and
opportunity share for all parties involved.
In many cases, alliances between companies can involve two or more categories  or types of alliances:  
  • A "sales alliance" occurs when two companies agree to go to market together to sell complementary products and services.
  • A "solution-specific alliance" occurs when two companies agree to jointly develop and sell a specific marketplace solution.
  • A "geographic-specific alliance" is developed when two companies agree to jointly market or co-brand their products and services in a specific geographic region.
  • An "investment alliance" occurs when two companies agree to joint their funds for mutual investment. 
  • A "joint venture alliance" occurs when two or more companies agree to undertake economic activity together.
Joining forces with another company can allow your business to finance certain  services or production functions by sharing expertise, assets, expenses and risk  without necessarily incurring cash debt.
Many business alliances and strategic partnerships may offer great opportunities  for financing some advertising and distribution expenses so it just makes sense  to join forces.
A business alliance or strategic partnership can be an arrangement between two  companies that combine resources to gain additional business. They can be  formed when one company alone cannot fill the gap in serving the needs of the

It involves two companies that pool together expertise and resources to enter new markets, share financial risks and get products and  services to the market faster.
Some alliances or strategic partnerships are formal written agreements -- others  are informal as a handshake. With the internet, some alliances are entered into  after several email exchanges, even without the physical meeting of the parties

Whatever their structure, one goal prevails -- these alliances or partnerships are  opportunities for small businesses to accomplish things that would otherwise take  much more money or staff time.
Typically two companies form a strategic partnership when each possesses one  or more business assets that will help the other, but that it does not wish to  develop internally.
One common strategic partnership involves one company providing engineering,  manufacturing or product development services, partnering with a smaller,  entrepreneurial firm or inventor to create a specialized new product.
Typically, the larger firm supplies capital, and the necessary product  development, marketing, manufacturing, and distribution capabilities, while the  smaller firm supplies specialized technical or creative expertise.
Another common strategic partnership involves a supplier/manufacturer  partnering with a distributor or wholesale consumer. Rather than approach the  transactions between the companies as a simple link in the product or service
supply chain, the two companies form a closer relationship where they mutually  participate in advertising, marketing, branding, product development, and other  business functions. 

An example includes an automotive manufacturer may form  
strategic partnerships with its parts suppliers or a music distributor with record  labels.
For small businesses, these alliances often consist of simple bartering with  customers, suppliers and even competitors. There are several other groups you can partner with. Employees can leave their companies and form a partnership with their employers if they see potential partnership opportunities.
Many entrepreneurs can partner with their customers if they are selling a substantial amount of product to one company. It also makes sense to join forces with other companies such as trade associations, local community organizations, etc. Even at times it might be best to partner with a competitor. You can work hand-in-hand with a competitor over contracts that may be too large for you to handle by yourself.
Remember as you consider forming business alliances and strategic  partnerships - always try to partner with groups that can add value to your  business, not just money. To clear the air, it always best to put any type of  agreement in writing. Always make sure these businesses are on the same page
as your business and that they operate with integrity.
Cathy Harris is the author of the business books  "How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide to Starting Your Own Business" and  "The New CEO: 185 Easy-To-Set Up Businesses for Youth And Adult Entrepreneurs"  and 22 other books. She is also known as  "The Ethical Black Business Coach" . She is available for Business Seminars, Workshops and Consultations and can be reached through her empowerment and publishing company,  Angels Press, P.O. 19282, Austin, TX 78760,  Phone: (512) 909-7365, 
Website: ,
Copyright 2017 Cathy Harris. All Rights Reserved

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"New Book Release"
"Overcoming Food Deserts in Your Community: How To Start A Home, School or Community Garden, Food Co-op or Food Coalition" 
by Cathy Harris
available as an e-book and paperback

Table of Contents

  • How To Start A Home Garden
  • How To Start A School Garden
  • How To Start A Community Garden
  • How To Start A Food Co-op
  • How To Start A Food Coalition
  • Job and Business Opportunities
  • Legal Business Structure
  • Top Ways to Finance Food Projects
  • How To Market Food Projects
  • How To Deal With Media Entities
This book not only lays out several action plans to gain access to good, clean, organic foods, but it will help all family members gain access to job and business opportunities, while they eliminate food deserts in their communities.
Face it we will never get back to totally living off the land like our ancestors did, but families must come together today for the sake of future generations. We need to seriously look at solutions because this is the first generation that will not outlive their parents. However, there are economically-empowered ways we can feed, clothe and shelter our own families. 
Food is not always only about the most expedient way to suppress hunger. Many community organizations have long understood this and believe that food access and quality is tied to both racial and economic justice.
Over the past few years we have heard quite a bit about food deserts, or high poverty areas where a lack of grocery stores makes it difficult for residents to purchase fresh food. However, we know far less about the food realities of people who live near grocery stores where fresh food is sold, but because of their limited  incomes, they simply cannot afford it.
Affordable healthy food is an issue of both equity and justice that disproportionally affects working-class and poor people of color in cities and rural areas. Reducing the economic necessity for some to rely so heavily on food that is unhealthy, is not only a tool for fighting health concerns, there are other benefits too.
Time and time again it shows when many schools team up with healthy venues and swap out soda machines and offer instead -- juices, water and low-sugar energy drinks and also prepared meals entirely free of additives and chemicals, but with abundant amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole-grain breads, this have led to reduced behavioral problems, higher grades, lower expulsion rates, decreases in the use of ADD prescription drugs, and teachers are reporting that the students were more attentive and could concentrate for longer periods of time. 
Gaining access to clean, sustainability, grown food is a basic human right so we need venues to offer education to inspire family members to live healthy lives, by offering hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability, and nutrition and this is what this book will do.


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  • 7 Steps To A Beautiful Smile
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  • Why Chicken is Bad for You and The Best Type of Meat to Eat
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  • How To Create Your Own Speaker's Tour
  • How To Create Your Own Public Relations (PR)/Marketing Company
  • How To Stop Racial Profiling and Police Brutality and much, much, more...

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Cathy Harris
Former Federal  Whistleblower
Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, 
Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Advice Columnist at, Self-Publishing and Business Coach and author of 24 non-fiction books at 

Cathy Harris, Speaker, Author, Coach
Angels Press, CEO, President, Publisher
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(512) 909-7365
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"We Can Sit Back and Watch As the World Goes By  or We Can Find Opportunities To Make It Better."   
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