An Appetite to Collaborate


YTKO programme director Helen Trudgeon presents some of the findings from Partner to Succeed’s Collaboration Survey 2010

After a full year of supporting businesses through the collaboration process, Partner to Succeed has carried out its first survey into the collaborative appetite of businesses, seeking to identify the key drivers over the next few years and gain insight into business leaders’ experiences of, and attitudes towards, collaborative working.

A large proportion of the businesses we surveyed is already collaborating, or would be keen to collaborate if they could find the right business partner. But there is still work to be done in promoting the benefits of joint working and increasing understanding of how collaboration can be used to help businesses grow. This is particularly the case with small and micro-businesses, who are also the businesses least likely to be trading outside the county.

“On an economic level, the majority of businesses are forecasting growth over the next 12 months”

We should not underestimate the importance of both communication and trust, two factors which are key to any business relationship, but which are essential to creating a successful collaboration and the main areas of concern for potential collaborators.

However, it is heartening that despite there being businesses that are not participating in collaborations, there is still an appetite for it, should what are essentiality process-driven barriers be overcome.

With the correct level of support and an understanding of how these barriers can be removed, there is a great deal of scope for bringing businesses together in successful partnerships, particularly if they are willing to look further afield, both nationally and internationally, for collaborations.

On an economic level, the majority of businesses are forecasting growth over the next 12 months, and over half of them are forecasting growth above 19%, indicating a high degree of confidence and a positive outlook.

Drawing this growth forecast out over the next five years sees an even more dramatic level of optimism amongst businesses surveyed, although this optimism has been correctly balanced

against a realistic approach to how this is achieved – through increasing sales, accessing new markets and new product development, which are the top three primary business objectives over the coming 12 months.

Partner to Succeed is well placed to work with businesses in all of these areas identified – from finding partners to developing new products, to identifying ways of accessing international markets through collaboration.

Supporting businesses throughout the collaboration process also enables us to ensure communication and trust remains core to any project.

The key findings of the research are:

  • Businesses are predominantly focused on the UK market, with exports not a core priority
  • Micro-businesses prefer to trade locally and collaborate less than larger businesses
  • One third of businesses expect strong growth over the next five years
  • Revenue is expected to grow for most businesses
  • Sales, access to market and product development are top priorities
  • The majority of business collaborations are project-based
  • Business leaders believe collaboration is only appropriate for certain sectors
  • Businesses have not yet found a “Partner to Succeed”
  • Process driven limitations, lack of time or a lack of joint vision are the main barriers to collaboration.