Viewpoints

Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints

PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Dec 3, 2013

Small Business

Merchants Rack Up $7.8 Billion in Online Sales on US-issued Visa Cards in Just Five Days

‘Tis the season of deep discounts, shopping-friendly apps, mobile devices and free shipping to drive record online sales. From Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, online sales – across smart phones, tablets and PCs – from U.S. Visa accountholders increased to $7.8 billion, up 30% over last year. Cyber Monday alone accounted for $2.6 billion in online spending, an increase of 28% over 2012.

Already, we see a number of factors contributing to these Visa numbers:

  • Shoppers have six fewer days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, making it the shortest holiday shopping season in more than a decade.
  • Bad weather in the East kept shoppers homebound, shopping online and away from the mall crush.

For more details on the numbers and to see how this year compares to previous years, see the infographic below.

 

By Wayne Best, Chief Economist

 

[Note to media/analysts: For any questions related to holiday shopping data, please contact us at mediacheck-in@visa.com]

 

 

 

 

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Posted by: Wayne Best, Chief Economist, Visa on December 3, 2013 at 10:39 am

Nov 12, 2013

Holiday Shoppers Prepare to Hit the Web

 

 

 

As consumers gear up for the holidays, it’s clear we’re in for another growth year in eCommerce.  According to new data from the Visa Spending Intentions survey, 87 percent of people plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online this year, with 40 percent saying they will do half or more gift-buying online.  That’s good news for retailers, knowing that 72 percent of people also plan to spend more or the same amount of money on gifts this year, compared to last year.

In the first 10 months of 2013, eCommerce sales are up 17 percent from the same period last year, and Visa domestic eCommerce transactions exceeded one billion dollars on 211 days, an increase of 19 percent from 2012.

Other key findings from the Visa Spending Intentions survey include:

Electronic Payments are the Norm

  • 25 percent of respondents plan to use their mobile phone or tablet for holiday shopping this year, up from 22 percent last year
  • Credit and debit cards will be the primary form of payments through the holidays, with 56 percent of people planning to use their credit card and 30 percent to use a debit card

The Holidays are Big Business, for Big and Small Businesses

  • Almost 50 percent expect to spend between $301 and $800, while 14 percent plan to spend more than $800
  • More than 85 percent of consumers are as, or more, inclined to shop at a small business this year, compared to last year

Beat the Crowds, with a Tap of the Finger

  • Online holiday shopping has become the preferred way to shop for a number of reasons, including:
    • Fits my schedule better/Can shop anytime (67 percent)
    • Better prices online (61 percent)
    • Dislike battling crowds (54 percent)

Each year, millions of shoppers rely on Visa for holiday-related purchases, providing a near real-time view into consumer behavior. If you wish to receive regular updates throughout the holiday season, send an email to globalmedia@visa.com or follow ongoing updates at http://blog-visa.fhstage2.com.

* 2013 VisaNet Data

Survey Methodology:

This survey was conducted for Visa by Prosper Insights and Analytics via an online sample of over 4,600 U.S. consumers aged 18 and over.

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Posted by: Wayne Best, Chief Economist, Visa on November 12, 2013 at 7:00 am

Oct 23, 2013

Secrets of Small Business Success Series: Insider’s Perspective with Nikhil Arora (Video)

In our last video blog by Donna Fenn, she sits down with one entrepreneur who tells her when he starts thinking of holiday planning for his business, and also a campaign that gives back just as much as it gets during the holiday season.

~Enjoy!

Janet – @jzablock

@VisaSmallBiz

Secrets of Small Business Success Series: Insider’s Perspective with Nikhil Arora (Video)

We sat down with Nikhil Arora, the co-founder of Back to the Roots, to talk about how his company, which makes grow your own mushroom kits and aqua farms, prepares for the holidays. Hint: you can’t start too soon!

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on October 23, 2013 at 9:31 am

Oct 22, 2013

Secrets of Small Business Success: The Price is Right: Use Pricing to Maximize Holiday Cash Flow

All good things must come to an end. We hope you have enjoyed the Small Business Success Summer Series with Donna Fenn. This will be her final blog post, but stay tuned tomorrow for her interview with Nikhil Arora, the co-founder of Back to the Roots.

For her final tip on making the holiday season a smashing success, Donna had the chance to sit down with three small business owners and chat about how to maximize holiday cash flow, which can be overwhelming with all the holiday hustle and bustle.

~Enjoy!

Janet – @jzablock

@VisaSmallBiz

The Price is Right: Use Pricing to Maximize Holiday Cash Flow

By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert

Many entrepreneurs have love/hate relationships with the holiday season.  At this time of year your business may be firing on all cylinders and the cash may be rolling in, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed unless you have a solid strategy for keeping the flow of business on track.  One great way to do this is by using pricing to your advantage.

Use discounting strategically. At ScanDigital, a company that digitizes photos, slides, and film, CEO Anderson Schoenrock, says he typically sees a 40% increase in sales over the holidays. While the company offers discounts throughout the year, “we offer our final discount of the year on Black Friday,” says Schoenrock.  “From that point forward, all orders are processed at full price.  Between better efficiency due to the sheer volume, as well as more full-priced orders coming through the door, we see profitability increase by 10-15% during the fourth quarter.” Last year, the company offered 20% off plus free shipping (which essentially amounted to 30% off).  This year, Schoenrock says he’ll offer a straight 30-35% off to drive larger volume, and he’s considering a tiered discount structure to incentivize larger orders.

Connect your price break to a cause.  “When you’re buying a gift for someone, it’s nice to feel that you’re giving back,” says Joy Chopak the founder of Gunamuna, a startup that makes wearable sleep sacks for infants, which can help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Chopak offers a 20% holiday discount on select products to retailers and directly to consumers in October, which is also SIDS Awareness Month. “We donate to the Safe Sleep Campaign and we also ask retailers and consumers to pass some of their savings on to the charity as well, “says Chopak. The price break also encourages retailers to stock up early for the holidays, which gives Chopak’s cash flow a boost and makes her own holiday schedule a bit more predictable.

Stand firm on pricing. “We don’t get into a race to the bottom on pricing,” says Chris Zane, the owner of Zane’s Cycles in Branford and Fairfield, Conn. “So we don’t ever have a holiday sale.” What he does instead is make post-holiday returns very easy for his customers. “All year, we have an unconditional return policy,” he says. If customers know they won’t have a hard time returning an unwanted gift, they’re more likely to spend, even at full price. After the holidays, Zane typically gets $15,000 to $20,000 in returns, which can wreak havoc on cash flow. So he offers every customer the choice of a full refund or a store gift card with an additional 10%. “90% of people will take the gift card,” says Zane. “So we don’t lose cash in the drawer at a time when we really need it.”

 

Remember that your primary goal should be to make your customers feel comfortable buying your product or service sooner rather than later.  Offer early discounts, promotions, or other incentives for them to pull the trigger before the rush. And when your promotion ends, stand firm on your pricing; an eleventh hour discount will only encourage the procrastinators.

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on October 22, 2013 at 8:54 am

Oct 15, 2013

Secrets of Small Business Success: Strategic Online Marketing for the Holidays

While some believe that “if you build it (your website), they will come,” most small businesses should face the reality that there is a lot happening online to distract their customers. How do you cut through the clutter and stand out? As part of her holiday series, Donna Fenn shares tips from successful small business owners on how they are differentiating themselves from competitors via online promotions. From working with bloggers to getting in the gift-giving sprit, you’ll have four bases covered this holiday season.

~Enjoy!

Janet – @jzablock

@VisaSmallBiz

Strategic Online Marketing for the Holidays

By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert

Chances are you’re ramping up your online marketing campaign for the holidays right now – along with everyone else, unfortunately! As you look to reach your current and potential customers, the challenge is to market to your customers in the places where they’re most likely to notice you, and with messages compelling enough to convert prospects into buyers. To help differentiate yourself from your competitors, consider trying these online marketing strategies:

Court the right bloggers. Diana Charabin, founder of Tiny Devotions, taps into bloggers who write about yoga and contemplative practices to help her get the word out about her mala beads, which are frequently used in meditation. Rather than approach very high profile bloggers who are typically inundated with requests to review products, Charabin instead targets “the mid-range bloggers – the ones who may just have a few thousand Twitter followers, but they’re very die hard.” She sends them her products, but makes it clear that there’s no obligation to write about the company. It’s a strategy she can use throughout the holiday season, as bloggers are always hungry for content that can be turned around quickly.

 

 

Have a mobile strategy. Dr. Marvin Lee, a Los Angeles-based chiropractor, has been working with a company called Signpost to help him with online marketing and to ensure that his content and offers are mobile friendly. “I’m a doctor and I don’t want to wear a marketing hat,” he says. “But you need an online presence, and if that doesn’t translate to mobile devices, you’re behind the times.” For a quarterly fee of $375, Signpost promotes his business on multiple channels, including Yelp, Foursquare, MapQuest, Amazon, and Google. Over the holidays, he’ll promote a special $39 introductory offer that includes a consultation, a first adjustment, and x-rays if needed. “My job is to convert the lookers to regular patients,” he says.

Offer gift-giving advice.  At Book Bouquet, founder Kim Shanahan is already busy marketing her company’s book-centric gift baskets on Facebook. “Every day, we’ll have a post that’s related to how people within our company are using the special that we’re promoting,” she says.  That may include gift baskets for coffee-lovers, cooks or movie buffs. She also offers customers the option of spreading payments over three months.

Personalize your communication. Sure, your customers want to feel that you know them, but they also want to know you. Ada Polla, CEO of the family-owned skin care company, Alchimie Forever, says that email blasts containing images of and content about her mom and her three sisters “get click rates that are much higher.  We’re a family-focused company and email is much more successful when it’s highly personal.”  This year, Alchimie will offer a 30% friends and family discount on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the email blast will contain images of all four Polla sisters peppered with a bit of family storytelling.

Remember that one of your greatest strategic advantages over your larger competitors is your ability to connect intimately and authentically with your customers. Online marketing enables that, but also make sure that you’re not just “broadcasting.”  Now’s the time of year when you need to make certain that you’re also engaging in dialogue with customers who respond to your online marketing efforts.

Please check out other posts in our “Secrets of Small Business Success” series:

Secrets of Small Business Success: Your Best Strategy for Attracting New Holiday Customers is Hiding in Plain Sight

Secrets of Small Business Success: Holiday Marketing: Be Memorable and Meaningful

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on October 15, 2013 at 8:05 am

Oct 8, 2013

Secrets of Small Business Success: Your Best Strategy for Attracting New Holiday Customers is Hiding in Plain Sight

Sure, the holiday rush is exciting and a great boost for business, but what’s your strategy to drive even more business and keep those customers coming back all year long? Donna Fenn spoke with two successful entrepreneurs on how they tackle the holiday season and keep customers coming back for more.

~Enjoy!

Janet – @jzablock

@VisaSmallBiz

Your Best Strategy for Attracting New Holiday Customers is Hiding in Plain Sight

By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert

At this time of year, consumers are more willing than ever to pull out their wallets to begin to make progress with their gift lists.  That means all you need to do is sit back and watch your sales multiply, right? Wrong! Yes, your tried and true customers are probably thinking of you already, but what about new customers? They’re out there, but you may need to make a special effort to reach them.  Do it right and you’ll not only increase sales over the holidays, you’ll add a significant number of new loyal customers to your database.  Here’s what two smart entrepreneurs have planned:

Ada Polla, the CEO of Alchimie Forever, a family-run skin care business, has struggled with the dilemma that “skin care is not really a gift product.”  No one really wants to open a wrinkle cream or anti-cellulite gel on Christmas morning! Her solution: create a new product specifically for holiday giving. “We tweaked the formula of our hand and foot cream to make a dry skin balm that’s neutral in terms of skin type,” she says.  She priced the product at $25, packaged two of them in a pretty gift bag and will price the package at $41. “We learned that if we just put two products together in a gift package and sell them at retail, that isn’t enough,” she says. “There has to be value.”  Another lesson learned from previous years is to take the gift package off the website after December. “We used to leave them on for the whole year,” says Polla, “but we found that people were buying them for themselves at the discounted price, and I don’t want that. We want them purchased as gifts for new customers.” Plus, she says, the gift packages appear more special if they’re more scarce.

At Back to the Roots, an Oakland company that makes grow-your-own mushroom kits and aqua farms (you can grow herbs and baby greens on top of a beta fish tank!), co-founders Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez also came up with a product-related holiday strategy. Their mushroom kits are currently on sale for $20 at retailers such as Whole Foods, Home Depot, and Safeway, but for the holidays they plan to produce a “mini” mushroom kit that will retail for just $9.99.  “Buyers tell us that when the price tag of an item goes from $12 to $10, it often doubles or triples sales,” says Arora.  “Going from $20 to $10 opens up a whole different world and will be a huge opportunity to drive sales and maximize our exposure and sell-through.” And $10, he says, is “a perfect stocking-stuffer price.” The company will also tweak its packaging to add a holiday theme that will appeal to retailers and encourage them to display the products prominently.

Bottom line: whether you make a product or deliver a service, you don’t need to launch an entirely new offering to attract attention over the holidays. Your best strategy may be hiding in plain sight, in the form of an existing product or service that can be tweaked with a holiday spin.

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on October 8, 2013 at 8:02 am

Oct 1, 2013

Secrets of Small Business Success: Holiday Marketing: Be Memorable and Meaningful

Donna Fenn has shared expertise and insights from entrepreneurs who’ve seen it and been through it all. From innovation heroes to customer service champions, in her last installment of the Small Business Success Summer Series, she explores holiday planning for the fast-approaching season. In this blog, Donna spoke with entrepreneurs who learned the hard way that it’s never too early to prepare your business for the  busy holiday season.

~Enjoy!

Janet – @jzablock

@VisaSmallBiz

Holiday Marketing: Be Memorable and Meaningful

By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert

For many small business owners, the upcoming holiday season is the most important time of year, as it represents a huge percentage of annual revenue. While consumers are in the mood to buy, they can be overwhelmed with marketing messages and confused by a huge number of choices.  So how do you rise above the noise? At this time of year especially, customers are more likely to do business with companies they like. Don’t wait until the crowded holiday season to start your holiday outreach. Instead, take the opportunity to meaningfully connect with them over the coming weeks and you’ll reap the rewards in the coming months.  Here are a few ways you can show your customers that you’re a cut above your competitors:

Be generous on social mediaZady.com is a new, multi-brand online retailer for people who want to be both stylish and socially conscious, says co-founder Soraya Darabi. “We don’t have a big marketing budget, so community is our first priority,” she says. Yes, she wants to drive consumers to Zady, but part of the company’s social media strategy is to be a trusted resource to people, even if it means sending them elsewhere. A woman recently asked Darabi where to find a great pair of boots. Her response: check out the used Ferragamos on eBay. “We want to position ourselves as experts,” says Darabi.

Host a party. At Zane’s Cycles, which has two bicycle shops in Fairfield County, Conn., holiday sales are just between 9- 10% of total revenue. Still, owner Chris Zane leverages the holiday season to thank and connect with a select group of important customers.  He hosts a VIP cocktail party with tenderloin, shrimp, and gift bags filled with Zane swag and a bottle of wine for 200 of “the customers who are most intimately involved in our business,” says Zane. “They’re the people who help us clean up after our big spring sale, or who wave the flags at the charity rides that we support. It’s about building community around our space and sending the message that we’re here for them.” He knows that message will pay off when it’s time to shop for bicycles in the spring.

Leverage cause marketing. At Back to the Roots (BTTR), an Oakland, Cal., company that sells mushroom growing kits and aquafarms, founders Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez forged a holiday partnership with Revolution Foods, which provides healthy meals to school children.  “For every Aquafarm that we sell at Whole Foods, Petco, and Nordstrom, we’ll donate a healthy school meal through Revolution Foods,” says Arora. The program, which starts this month, is part of BTTR’s philosophy to “partner with cool companies to do good things,” says Arora.

Of course, your holiday marketing should also include more traditional elements, such as email marketing to your most loyal customers and a holiday card. For a spin on that, check out OpenMe.com, a new social greeting card company that allows you to custom create e-cards (free) or physical cards ($4), with multiple pages and signatures, all managed online. Remember, it’s all about differentiating your company to customers in a memorable and meaningful way so that they fall in love with your company, not just what you happen to be selling.

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on October 1, 2013 at 10:05 am

Sep 25, 2013

Secrets of Small Business Success Series: Insider’s Perspective with Ben Kaufman

We hope you’ve been enjoying Donna Fenn’s monthly video blogs. She recently chatted with Quirky’s CEO and founder, Ben Kaufman, on thriving in a culture of innovation where he offered his perspective and advice for striving entrepreneurs.

~Enjoy!
Janet – @jzablock
@VisaSmallBiz

 

Quirky makes three new brand new consumer products every week so its founder, Ben Kaufman, knows a thing or two about innovation. Here, he chats with us about how to create a culture of innovation, how anyone can be innovative, and the single biggest threat to innovation.

Enjoy!

 

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Visa Corporate Relations Team on September 25, 2013 at 10:42 am

Sep 24, 2013

Secrets of Small Business Success: Failure Stinks, Long Live Failure!

Failure is never a fun feeling, especially when it’s your business. In our final post on ‘Nurturing your Entrepreneurial Spirit’,  Donna Fenn talks with the co-founder of Techstars, David Cohen, on failure and tips to help you navigate the waters.

~Enjoy!

Janet – @jzablock

@VisaSmallBiz

Failure Stinks, Long Live Failure!

By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert

 

It took Thomas Edison 10,000 attempts to make the light bulb, each one bringing him another step closer to success.  “I have not failed,” he said, “I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” You may not have the stomach to fail 10,000 times, but you’d better get comfortable with the possibility of failure. I had a recent conversation on the topic with David Cohen, co-founder of the national incubator/accelerator program, Techstars. He’s seen plenty of failures in Techstars and experienced a couple of his own. Here are some highlights from our talk:

  1. Make sure there’s a market for your product. One of the biggest causes of failure is lack of market, says Cohen. “You build something that no one wants to pay for or use, and that comes from tunnel vision,” he says. Often, founders fall in love with their ideas and neglect to do the proper market research to ensure that potential customers will feel the same way. To avoid epic fail, do research, collect data, and force yourself to clear specific hurdles, such as number of  customers or users.
  2. Get the right team in place. The second big cause of failure is not having the right team to execute on your idea.  “So much failure happens because someone does not have the right skill set,” says Cohen.  Or you may start a business with your best friend, only to find that he or she makes a terrible business partner.  At Techstars, co-founders are asked a series of questions about their product, market, competitors, and pricing. “It forces arguments between founders,” says Cohen. “Techstars is an accelerator, and it can accelerate failure, too.” You’ve heard it before: if you’re going to fail, fail fast.
  3. There’s failure, and there’s failure. “If you get up in the morning and you’re frustrated and nothing is working and you want to hit the wall with your fist, that’s called building a startup,” says Cohen.  Short-term frustration is perfectly normal, he says, so don’t mistake a few bad days for a sign from the universe that you should give up. On the other hand, if you wake up feeling that way for weeks and you’re just not having fun anymore, then maybe it’s time to move on.
  4. Fail or pivot? Maybe industry or market shifts have changed the playing field, or perhaps your product or service just isn’t making the traction you need. Before you throw in the towel, take a deep breath.  “Entrepreneurs think about sunk costs too much,” says Cohen. Instead, he  says, ask yourself  “is there something more powerful we can do with the assets we have today?” Take a look at your physical assets, such as equipment and inventory, but also consider your intellectual property and the talent you have on staff, and ask yourself how they can be repurposed.

No one enjoys failing, but the good news is that failure often begets success. “My favorite entrepreneur to back is one that has succeeded and failed, in that order,” says Cohen. “You learn that you’re human and to play to your strengths. You learn from failure than from success.”

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on September 24, 2013 at 7:01 am

Sep 16, 2013

Secrets of Small Business Success: Forging Great Strategic Partnerships

This month in our Secrets of Small Business Success series with Donna Fenn, we have been diving into the topic: ‘Nurturing Your Entrepreneurial Spirit’.  Part of keeping that spirit alive, means evaluating your partners. How do you know if they are going to add value as your business grows? This week, Donna looks at how to form tactical partnerships from the very beginning.

~Enjoy!

Janet – @jzablock

@VisaSmallBiz

Secrets of Small Business Success: Forging Great Strategic Partnerships

By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert

 

 

A great partnership can save you time, make you money, and open doors that might otherwise remain closed. But strategic relationships can also be tricky, so it’s important for you to ask the right questions before entering into any agreement.

1.  Will the partnership provide comparable value to both parties?  “You have to strike a balance,” says Morgan First, co-founder of Second Glass, which creates “Wine Riot,” wine-tasting events geared toward twenty-somethings. “We find out what potential partners are looking for and what we can do for them for very little or for free.” One of Second Glass’s key strategic partners is Yelp. In exchange for 20 pairs of tickets to a daytime Wine Riot event (a time slot that rarely sells out), Yelp promotes the event via its newsletter and directly on the Yelp website and mobile app. First forged the partnership in Boston, when her company launched in 2006. “We now partner with them in all the cities where we do Wine Riot events,” says First.

2.  Are you legally protected? “My general rule is that there should be a written agreement for everyone who your company does business with,” says Rachel Rodgers, an attorney who provides legal counsel for entrepreneurs.  “One of the biggest things I’m always concerned about is intellectual property (IP). If IP is exchanged or created, who owns it?” You’ll also want to specify the exact terms and expectations of your agreement, including a start and end date, and any restrictions you or your partner feel compelled to place on the relationship.

3.  Is there synergy between your companies? When David Adelman launched ReelGenie, a company that helps families collaboratively transform online content and photos into videos, his plan was to entice users to come to his site to produce their custom videos. But then he discovered that partnerships were a more efficient path to growth. He’s now inking strategic agreements with social networking, photo sharing and family history sites that will offer ReelGenie’s video creation services to their own users. “We positioned ourselves at the end of the funnel to reach people who are already looking to create something,” he says.  “We give up some of the economics to our partners, but we get our name and our technology out there without spending money on user acquisition.”

4.  Are you getting the “halo effect?” Especially if you’re a  very small company or a startup, your customers will judge you by the      company you keep. A prestigious strategic partner will cast the glow of legitimacy on your own company and can open doors to new      opportunities.  Take Jordan Goldman’s Unigo,  a highly popular website that offers student-generated content on more than 6,500 colleges and universities. Goldman negotiated partnerships with  U.S. News & World Report to power the publication’s college reviews; The Wall Street Journal to produce custom content for students; and with McGraw-Hill to create college readiness curriculum for high school students. Those partnerships have helped make Unigo one of the largest resources for college information in the country.

So where do you find high-value strategic partners? Start by looking for companies that are in related industries whose CEOs have the same values as yours. And look to those who want something you have and who have something that you want.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like these previous posts, Smells Like Team Spirit and Put on Your Innovator’s Hat.

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on September 16, 2013 at 8:41 pm