The shift to digital and automated business processes has accelerated over the past 18 months, while at the same time exposing the skills shortages that most SMB business owners face in order to make that shift. In this environment, cooperation with previously unlikely partners could be the solution that the business needs to accelerate.

Both small and medium-sized organisations are struggling to find skills and resources and that is unlikely to change anytime soon. Partnerships are now even more critical than ever because the ability to scale and gain traction in a fast-changing, digital world is much easier when you have access to skills and resources, without having to acquire them yourself.

Bringing discrete skills sets to the table
Digital transformation is widening the gap between those who have resources and those who do not. By bringing different skill sets together, like-minded partners can create a value proposition that differentiates them from the competition and creates greater value for customers. Large organisations have the financial means to employee skills, but smaller businesses need to collaborate and share resources in order to create value for a customer.

It is a process that begins by collectively determining what the problem is to be solved and then working on the appropriate solution together. The key is that all parties are committed on the need to collaborate in order to increase value for the customer – while at the same time it gives all parties the ability to scale as they undergo ongoing digital transformation themselves.

Blue ocean thinking
The ability for all parties to suspend their individual agendas and remain focused on the achievement of the collaborative value offering does require innovative, blue ocean thinking. The principle is simple – the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost to open up a new market space and create new demand. There is little benefit to undergoing digital transformation if your business is going to continue to offer the same value proposition and look the same as any other digitally transformed company.

Blue ocean thinking demands that when you choose your partners, you are identifying a specific problem or need in the market that requires a unique solution that you are able to offer as a result of the partnership.

To do that successfully, your collaborative solution should ensure that one of three things happens for the end customer.

Your solution should….

  1. Create revenue on behalf of the customer;
  2. Reduce their costs; and
  3. Increase their productivity.

Too often in difficult trading conditions businesses spend too much time focused on creating more efficiency, and as a result end up growing revenue only by a small percentage. That is understandable, but is it sustainable in this environment? Probably not, because your competitors and other resellers are doing exactly the same thing.

You know that customer centricity and adding real value is essential for your business growth. You are going to have to embrace new levels of innovation and creativity and it may require that you sit at the table with partners that you have not worked with in the past. Therein lies the opportunity to do things differently and build up the business resilience that will help you survive the short-term impact of the pandemic and set you up to thrive in the future.

Tarsus Distribution is working closely with its technology reseller community to create long-term partnerships with business owners that would like to explore this collaborative approach.

[Photo by REDPIXEL on Adobe Stock]