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How startup founders can use strategic partnerships to gain competitive advantage


Founders focus on developing the best product and searching for clients at the start of their start-up journey. Isn’t this the essence of entrepreneurship? Yes, but only to a certain extent.

When I started my first business at the beginning of 2017, I thought that being an entrepreneur meant three words: product, clients, and money. After almost six years, “partnership” is as essential to me as the word “revenue.”

Partnerships give founders of start-ups a competitive edge, especially those who work in Francophone Africa. Think about what you do well in your field as a founder. Then ask yourself who you need to ally with to strengthen your brand, positioning, and value in the market.

Partnerships are a network of business relationships that can be built anywhere in the world, not just where you live. So, if you live in a French-speaking country in Africa, being able to speak English will help your business.

If you are fluent in English, you will have the opportunity to cultivate ties with businesses, organizations, and even governments in several different countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt, The economy of the countries that have been discussed up to this point is among the most advanced and sophisticated in the whole wide world, regardless of whether they are located in Europe, Africa or America.

A founder in Senegal or the Democratic Republic of the Congo should know that speaking English makes it easier to find business partners and investors worldwide. Statista put out a chart earlier this year that showed that 63.7% of all websites are written in English, while only 2.5% are available in French.

Start-ups in Dakar, Kinshasa, Brazzaville, Libreville, Abidjan, or Bamako can benefit from reading the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, or TechCabal to find out what’s going on in the business.

On Twitter and LinkedIn, helpful information about start-ups, fundraising, and entrepreneurship is regularly posted in English. This gives founders who can quickly access, understand, and use this information a competitive edge.

Partnerships fail unless they are founded on a win-win collaboration between two parties. Start-up founders must develop world-class business expertise and understand what they do exceptionally well to solve real client problems. When start-ups can demonstrate how a partnership will benefit them, finding business partners among established companies becomes more accessible.

Lastly, business partnerships that are good for both parties and last need good communication. For the partnership to last for months and years, both sides need to know, discuss, and meet their expectations.


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