Sometimes, Partners Are Necessary

Q: What do you think about organizations teaming up or Partnering in the Yukon?

I posed this question to the members of TIA Yukon, with regard to the tourism industry. The responses were clear and passionate. Forming partnerships is paramount to success … but proceed with caution.

We have many innovative and successful partnerships in the Yukon tourism industry. Partnerships in the North establish support networks and relationships that impact success and failure.

The idea of finding and forming a partnership can be daunting. Entrepreneurs, by definition, crave autonomy but are facing an increasingly complex business environment that demands more time and a schizophrenic skill set.

This leaves the entrepreneur to re-evaluate the need for human resources, outsourcing, partners,or some combination thereof.


I was excited to read our member input to see if my own entrepreneurial experiences relate. It appears that the Yukon business experience is “an experience”. We live in remote communities, the cost of doing business is relatively high, the labour pool and market is small and resources are hard to secure, all of which are barriers to building economy of scale.


Small businesses are having trouble generating awareness and targeting a market segment – in an already small market – fast enough to get the traction they need to survive. Partnerships could play an integral role in helping “common product” suppliers overcome these obstacles.


Partnerships build economy of scale, reduce cost, improve returns and fill Yukon product base. There is a huge asset of industry knowledge to be shared through partnerships. And real potential for smaller Yukon firms to expand their reach and project a larger “front”.


Tourism operators represent the Yukon to our visitors. It makes sense to build and invest in partnerships that enhance the industry as a whole. Since all Yukon businesses profit either directly or indirectly from tourism, it makes sense for the business community to team up and support tourism for the benefit of the economy. A receptive tour company is a prime example of this “teaming up”.


The quality and business standards in the Yukon are so varied that finding a suitable partner is tricky. Finding the right partner means evaluating the potential for maintaining a successful relationship. You need to evaluate on business ability, values, ethics and business model. Our visitors expect nothing less than industry-standard service.


It makes sense to evaluate a partnership with some simple collaboration.

Partnerships will unravel when there is a disparity in perceived or actual benefits. There has to be a clear vision, defined objectives and a real need by both parties.

A plan and schedule should exist with common goals that are achievable and affordable. An agreement should be in place that protects both parties. There should be access to, or resources for, professional services to fill the skills gap within the partnership when required.

Depending on the scale and scope, a professional facilitator, dedicated to reaching the goals of the partnership, is advised.

It is clear that partnerships are becoming more important and necessary as tourism businesses face internal and external challenges. The business environment continues to demand more resources and skills. Corporations are filling in their moats and teaming up. Business models are changing to deal with increased globalization, saturated markets, productivity demands, pressures, scarce resources, capabilities needs, bridging gaps and external threats and opportunities.

The question to “make or buy” has evolved into “make, buy or partnership”.

TIA Yukon thanks the membership for taking the time to pass forward quality information, advice and industry experience.

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