News headlines are dominated by events related to social justice, social equity, and diversity & inclusion gaps in the workplace and in the supply base. In response, member companies of the Billion Dollar Roundtable are committing additional billions of dollars toward creating more opportunities to support small and diverse-owned businesses. Corporations that are not members of the Billion Dollar roundtable are stepping up their commitment to small business and diverse-owned business spending as well.
However, up to 40% of small and diverse-owned businesses no longer exist due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
This stark reality raises 2 concerns. The first is why weren’t more of these companies better prepared to withstand this downturn. The second is what new opportunities does this reduced number of competitors create for those of us still in business.
We will address the 2nd concern here. As a consequence of the downturn, there are now greater opportunities for a smaller group of businesses to land corporate contracts.
Corporations however, although now highly motivated toward inclusion and promotion of small businesses’ participation, currently and historically claim the greatest challenge to doing more contracting with small and diverse-owned companies is that:
1) very few small and diverse businesses know the corporation's business
2) very few know the corporation’s supply chain and how to drive value inside it; and
3) very few have the ability to handle the contracts once awarded
I want to be clear on this issue. “Big companies have not gotten burned awarding contracts to small businesses that are ready for these opportunities.”
Corporations are reluctant to award substantial contracts to small companies due to the aforementioned three reasons because, over the past 30 or more years, their experience has been that small companies are generally not ready.
This of course makes the hurdle to get these lucrative contracts more difficult for small and diverse suppliers. The Business Partner blueprint (BPb) program exists to solve these 3 issues. The heart of the BPb program is the concept of Strategic Alliances. Strategic Alliances are committed relationships between companies, where each commits significant resources to gain and sustain lasting benefit.
In other words, Strategic Alliances are the solutions to the 3 challenges large corporations name as limiting small and/or diverse companies’ success in getting contracts with them. Yet in many instances, small business owners are unaware of these challenges, and do not know that Strategic Alliances are the solutions.
Strategic Alliances are the single greatest tools available to small and diverse-owned businesses to rapidly grow profits, scale operations, enhance product / service solution offerings and build enduring businesses.
Business Partner blueprint addresses Strategic Alliances from three dimensions:
1) What operating capacity do you have to support an alliance and what gaps can an alliance partner fulfill for your business. This helps your business combination avoid the failures and mistakes due to prematurely entering into partnerships without understanding what you really need in a partner.
2) How to identify, negotiate and manage a strategic alliance with a business partner and how to design it to provide the solution a big company seeks. This gives you confidence that the partnership will fill the needs for your business, your partner's business and meet the strategic goals you seek.
3) How to position the alliance in the corporate supply chain for long-term contracting business growth. This provides you the business savvy you need to effectively navigate complex supply chains and calibrate the needs of your business partner relationships so that your business can contract with large companies for decades.
For more information about the Business Partner blueprint course curriculum, click here: