“Mergers and Acquisitions” sounds very 1980s to me (probably due to an unhealthy obsession with the movie Working Girl), but they are still very common in today’s market. Perhaps not as common, however, as the more team-oriented business partnership approach. At Architech Solutions (ATS), we focus on the public sector and believe that creating dynamic teams as a “remix” is the best way to respond to new project opportunities with the required breadth and depth of knowledge and experience.
In his new book, “Remix Strategy: The Three Laws of Business Combinations,” Benjamin Gomes-Cassares explains his use of the word “remix” in this context as “the mixing of resources, assets, and capabilities of one organization with those of another to create value.” Alliances, joint ventures, partnerships, and consortiums are all good examples of remixes, wherein teaming and cooperation bring about something new from the combined efforts of two (or more) previously unrelated entities. You get the best combined results by pooling resources, in many cases, which means remixing businesses only makes sense.
This is how ATS often approaches our business relationships inside and outside of the Beltway, offering our expertise in project management, case management and business process management development (primarily using Pega and Appian, as well as bpm’online), and working with and for government departments like Veteran Affairs, USDA, State of Maine, and New Jersey Courts, to name a few. We aren’t limited to government projects, however, these are the most common types of projects to remix with other businesses since the level of competition is high and bringing the best collective team is not only one of the best ways to win new contracts, it’s also the best way to achieve success at the actual project after you’ve won.
The process of teaming is kind of like finding puzzle pieces that will fit together, even if the chosen pieces are from different boxes. Not only does creating these kind of teams provide a broader range of viable opportunities than we can pursue on our own as a small business, but it also lets us expand future opportunities with those same team members in different combinations. Per our CEO, Richard Johnston, “It’s not enough to be good at what you do. It’s even more important for a potential business partner to know you, like you, and prefer to work with you.” Once you have established relationships with some core teaming partners, friends of friends hear about the quality services we offer, the positive interactions we foster, and new remixing opportunities arise with new projects simply by word of mouth.
Melissa Thomas, one of the members of our Business Development team also says, “Business is about relationships. It’s about the people. And rolling up our sleeves and doing the work.” Being a reliable cog in a remixed team makes you dependable to your teammates and to your clients. Even if there comes a time that your team decides to disband (hey, it happens to the best collaborations of all time…just look at the Beatles and the Eagles), your client may very likely say to you, “We really like you. We want you to stay/come back.” In which case, you’ve become “in demand” like Timbaland or Danger Mouse. You may suddenly have a plethora of teaming options available to you; evidence again that remixing is a good option for small businesses.
Dana Severson’s article in Inc., “The Power of Partnering up…Instead of Down,” also speaks directly to this concept of joining forces in unique or unexpected ways in order to get more traction in areas where clientele needs overlap. He gave an example of reaching out to a tool company to partner with his beef jerky company. He was banking on the fact that people who purchase tools are probably also interested in buying jerky, and it worked! The bigger business, Severson points out, is taking a chance on a smaller partner, but they have the weight of experience and status to take such risks–a risk that might be fairly small in the long run. For the small business partner, it is a legitimate opportunity to advance with a little help from a more experienced collaborator.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, they say. Remixed teams are the perfect example of how this saying proves to be true.
ATS has been working hard to grow and our efforts were recognized this year in Inc. 5,000 2015: The Fastest Growing Private U.S. Companies. We were ranked #2,799 with a 3-year growth rate of 129%. This is a really exciting time for ATS, and we are looking forward to continuing our upward growth trends in the coming months and years.
If you are looking to team with a small, minority-owned business with a current GSA schedule on upcoming CRM, BPM, case management, or other Pega or Appian projects, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 703-972-9155.
Amy Barth is a Senior Business Analyst at Architech Solutions.