Partnering up: working with other firms abroad

Economies and markets everywhere are becoming increasingly globalised, and there’s no way of getting around the fact that pairing up with foreign firms is a great way to enhance your own firm’s business prospects. Whether it’s in the form of a white labelling deal that could expand your product’s reach or simply the provision of expert, local advice, there are many ways in which working with foreign firms can play out in your favour.

Structure of the deal

First off, it’s vital to make sure that you get it clear from the outset – and in writing – exactly what the scope of the partnership will be. This is important because there are so many different guises that an international partnership can take and getting that mixed up at this early stage could cause havoc. If one party is going to be promoting the other party’s product or service, for example, it’s important to establish whether this will be on a white labelling basis — whereby the promoting party can put their branding stamp on the product — or not.

It’s also important to flesh out when the deal ends, and whether or not either party can terminate it early. This sort of thing is important in any context, of course, but it’s even more important when the deal is international. Language barriers might mean that misinterpretations can occur, for example, while contract law rights which you have here in Britain might not exist abroad.

In-country advice

While analysing the structure of any deal is important, it’s also sensible to not be entirely gloomy about the scope and potential of an international partnership. International partnerships can also give companies amazing boosts in terms of knowledge sharing. In the case of firms from the UK looking to do clinical trials in China, an international partnership with a China clinical research organisation can help to navigate medical regulations, which are vital for achieving product approval. There are countless examples of situations like this in many sectors and industries, so it’s always worth looking into.

More than one?

Depending on the industry you work in, it may be prudent to avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket. That’s because the international economy is so fast-moving and dynamic, and your priorities – and revenue sources – can change at any time. So, it could be worth steering clear of any international partnerships which include clauses restricting your ability to pair up with other firms – unless, of course, this is something that works for you in your sector.

Working with foreign firms can be both wonderful and a minefield – and as a savvy business leader, it’s your job to ensure that it’s mostly the former and rarely, if ever, the latter. A foreign firm may be able to provide you with market access or unique advice, and that’s to be celebrated. However, it could also end up limiting your options, or cause you to sign a contract which ends up not meeting your needs. By being careful and prudent, you can ensure your deals are as suitable for you as possible.