I think we all know that one person. The person who always seems to know how to do everything. But when push comes to shove and their word is on the line, they disappear or they fall flat. Sure, we wish we could be great at everything, but as the saying goes, it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. That’s why when it comes to sports, in the workplace, and probably your significant other, we’re looking for partnerships that can offer something that we don’t have; something that ideally complements us or our team. That’s why no soccer team has 11 goalies on the field at a time, obviously. A startup with co-founders that all have the same role doesn’t make any sense. An inventor without knowledge about product development isn’t going to get very far. So that being said, what are the key partnerships for invention makers?
Key Partnerships for invention makers are one of the nine components of the Business Model Canvas that helps inventors manage and structure a streamlined business plan.
For those that have been keeping up, we’ve already covered seven components of the BMC. The Customer Segments are your specific groups of customers who share similar characteristics such as demographics and purchasing habits. Invention makers aim to communicate specific Value Propositions that reflect these characteristics. What you communicate is equally important as how you communicate. A message that falls on deaf ears is useless. So invention makers should take careful consideration of the specific Channels they’re using. Through regular communications with your customers, you can begin to build Customer Relationships. Once you build those relationships, you’ll deliver on your value propositions with your Key Activities. However, many will find they’ll be unable to execute their key activities without the help of third parties. For example, those unable to store the product themselves may want to use Amazon’s service to store and ship their product. These types of relationships are called Key Partnerships.
Key Partnerships helps us achieve our business objectives at a lower cost, reduced risk, or simply because the potential partner is better than us at whatever task it is. And there’s no shame in that. Along with the Amazon example above. Could you imagine trying to hand-deliver products on your own? No, you’re probably going to hire a courier to do it. Great inventors will ask themselves does it make sense to do it on their own, or to get help doing it.
Types of Key Partnerships
When it comes to key partnerships for invention makers, in what instances should an inventor consider pursuing one?
- Automation and scale: For inventors who want more and want it faster, this is the way. You know this is true. For example, why do you think “value packs” of 12 boxes of instant mac and cheese are a dollar cheaper than buying those boxes individually? Distributors and wholesalers rely on their products being sold in bulk, it’s how they make money. The higher volume, the better the discount. For inventors, this might mean they’ll need a manufacturer that can handle producing a large number of products in a short period of time.
- Risk mitigation: Some products may need some licenses or certifications before they can hit the market. Rather than doing yourself, you might want to partner with a lawyer who may be better equipped to complete these forms.
- For specific skillsets or resources: There’s some overlap with the two above types of partnerships. Because, this type of partnershp helps inventors achieve what they can’t do on their own. A great example is us! MAKO helps inventors bring their ideas to life!
About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!