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Strategic partnerships

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This story appears in the March 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

The Internet makes it faster than ever to communicate with others--and easier than ever to build strategic partnerships. For entrepreneurs, strategic partnerships are a serious marketing tool that enables you to play alongside the big guys. An online partnership might be anything from a co-branded, co-hosted site to a two-way referral agreement to an exchange of products or services. But the key is for both sides of the partnership to gain access to something previously inaccessible.

For many entrepreneurs, the payoffs include an increase in site traffic from a link on an industry leader's Web site. Shannon Anderson of Albuquerque, New Mexico, owns Babies Online LLC, a site devoted to new and expectant parents. The e-commerce site Baby Universe contacted her about a partnership agreement in which they would become the exclusive recommended baby store on her site. "In return, they placed links back to Babies Online," says the 31-year-old entrepreneur. "I've experienced increased traffic, revenue and respect since we began this arrangement." Are there opportunities for your company to partner with a larger industry player? Possibly. The key is figuring out what you'd like to accomplish and what you have to offer before you approach a potential partner.

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