How do I choose the right partners?


Picking partners is a skill that can take time to perfect. Selecting the right people can help open doors, win customers and provide a valuable source of support and advice.

The panellists at our recent SME briefings, all Australian SMEs who export or are involved in export-related contracts, discussed some of the considerations they took into account when choosing partners.

Be selective
“We try and get better at choosing the best partners… Not necessarily just because someone comes to you. Pick the partner that would be the right fit for us.” – Carolyn Creswell, Carman’s Kictchen.

Consider size
“In working with distributors, we’ve learnt that going with the biggest is not always the best. In many new markets we’ve gone with smaller distributors.” – Peter McDonald, Capilano Honey.

Think long-term
“We’ve always tried to choose partners that we will have a long-term relationship with.” – Carolyn Creswell, Carman’s Kitchen.

Be flexible
“Our approach to sales structures has changed. In some markets we use distributors, in some markets we go direct to supermarkets, in some markets we warehouse the product ourselves and use brokers to sell it. The approach will change depending on the size of the opportunity, the market, the ease of doing business,,, and the margin structure.” – Peter McDonald, Capilano Honey.

Build trust
“We’ve been with many of our distributors for about 25 to 30 years. We don’t swap and change distributors a great deal… It is that relationship, that trust, that knowledge of their business and our business that we find essential in terms of growing sales.” – Peter McDonald, Capilano Honey.

Hear from some of panellists at our recent SME briefings on how they choose their partners.