Return on investment is the corner stone of business. We have a number of competing projects to invest in. We can’t invest in them all, so we have to select the best ones for our circumstances and objectives. We measure success by the money we get back for the money we’ve spent.

So what better return on investment is there when your outlay is zero? Yes, I’m talking about getting value and return from other people’s money, or OPM. Not your partners’ cash, your competitors’.

For example, companies often sponsor projects like events, white papers or other publications. If you’ve carved a reputation for yourself as a thought leader in your field, or even someone whose opinion would be interesting, then there’s an opportunity for you to get a platform for your message in something that someone else has paid for.

You don’t need to prevail on your competitor for air time. Often, the event or the publication is organised by a third party, like a journalist, many of whom respond to the argument that a¬†greater breadth of views and opinions makes for more balanced output.

Leveraging other people’s money, legitimately, is always better than leveraging your own.