Three Steps to Find your Partner: 3. To Select the Best International Business Partner, Compare the List of Potential Candidates with your Ideal Partner Profile

The first step, explained how you can develop a list of characteristics ranked and weighed, describing our Ideal Partner. The second step resulted in a list of potential candidates. Making a comparison between the list of potential candidates with your Ideal Partner profile sound very straightforward. except, it is probably a complex, arduous task. If done well, you will select the best International Business Partner you could have found.

Finding the Data

Obtaining the data you need to make the comparison may prove more difficult than expected. Some of the potential candidates may not have that data readily available, and not all potential partners may use the same measuring stick when they collect the information you are looking for. To make a good comparison you will need to compare apples to apples. Often partners are reluctant to share data with strangers, so you may have to be insistent. But potential partners know the name of the game. they know that their vendors want to see certain information. provided the proper NDA, they should be willing to share. A potential partner who does not want to provide the info you request is probably not worth considering.

First Rough Cut

You may consider to make the comparison into several stages. A first comparison based on data you have received from the potential partner, as well as data that you have collected through desk research. Some of the data you will gather wil help you eliminate those partners that are definitely not a good fit. As mentioned earlier you should also eliminate those potential partners that have not proven cooperative and refused to provide you with the data you requested.

In-Depth Review

With the rough cut taken care off, you are hopefully left with less than 5 potential partners. It is time for an in-depth review. It is now time for an in depth review: schedule a conference call, ask your country’s consulate for a review of the partner or contact a trade association the partner is a member of, to learn more about them. Many consulates consider it their task to help the country’s trade expansion, and they are happy to assist you and do further vetting of the candidates you retained through the vetting process. The idea of this step is to find the two or three finalists with the very best fit.

You need to visit in order to select the Best International Business Partner

Chances are, once you choose a partner, your and their fate will be linked for a long time, and you should not chose your partner without having spend face-time.

Several employees may travel and visit the potential partner. Certainly the commercial people responsible for the relationship should be involved in the sizing-up of the partner. If the partner relationship is important to the company, involve an executive or the CEO. Besides financial and performance criteria, one of your criteria should address cultural compatibility. Corporate culture is best judged by someone in upper management.

During this visit you should seriously explore the candidates position in regards to the contract you would like to negotiate. Make it clear that you are not quite ready to commit. Tell the candidates that you will need time to conclude the process. You will need that time in case you fail to negotiate a satisfactory agreement with your chosen partner.

Meeting 2 or 3 potential candidates may be somewhat awkward. Not unlike dating several people at a time. But it is always better to find incompatibilities before you commit. Doing so will save both of you a lot of time, money and effort.

The visit should result in a final choice, and signal the start of final negotiations. Do not notify the other parties of your choice till you can conclude a satisfactory contract with your chosen partner.

Following the above process, will inevitably lead you to select the best International Business Partner available to you.

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