Key partners are the external relationships engaged to create customer value. They can take a number of forms such as supplier or broker relationships, joint ventures, franchises or strategic alliances.
The scholarly business literature addresses the optimal conditions and challenges presented by these different forms of partnerships.
Directories are tools that can be used to identify potential partners. Often trade associations or trade show exhibit halls offer supplier and service directories that can be used to find key partners. If word of mouth is used to identify partners, do due diligence on them by checking credit ratings and mentions in the news.
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