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The Power of Business Partnerships

Working by yourself can be a lonely business, so teaming up with other people is something worth thinking about – and can also bring with it untold benefits..

The phrase “stronger together” has been used over the years by everyone from political parties to campaigns against modern slavery. It does what it says on the tin – highlighting the fact that there is indeed strength in numbers and working as part of a group can have huge benefits.

It may not seem at first glance to have much relevance for small businesses, but the truth of the matter is that joining forces can help grow your organisation and introduce your product or service to a much wider audience. Even the people that you may consider your direct competition could also be worth your consideration – particularly if you operate in a similar field but you offer something they don’t.

Growth prospects

There’s no denying it could be considered a high risk strategy to possible lose your hard-won customers to someone else because you’ve decided on a joint venture, but by the same token it could also help you grow your own brand.

Working with another business gives you the opportunity to sound ideas off each other, help with problem solving – after all it’s highly likely you’ll have both faced similar challenges – and also even give you more buying/spending power. You can share knowledge and marketing ideas and find new avenues that may not have been open to you before your collaboration.

It also can put you in a stronger position to compete against much larger organisations. Joining forces may allow you to pitch for bigger contracts or apply for tenders, which can be very lucrative for smaller organisations.

Co-marketing and networking

Sharing marketing collateral will also bring down costs. How about a joint brochure, flyer or leaflet? It may be that you’re offering complimentary services so your potential customers can see how engaging with both businesses can benefit them. Or how about one company advertises on one side of the leaflet and the other on the reverse? Your print costs are then immediately cut in half – given you extra funds for another campaign.

Networking organisations can be a lifeline for small businesses, so try and factor engaging with them into your calendar. It may be the place where you can meet potential collaborators – or why just stick at one? Your group could all work together on a brochure which highlights everyone’s services, under the umbrella name of your group. Once again splitting the cost will make it worthwhile for everyone – and it could be the start of a whole programme of combined activities.

Running your own business can be a lonely road and sometimes the prospect of having to make all the decisions can be a daunting one. Having people to sound ideas off – and who can do the same with you – is an invaluable asset and one definitely worth exploring. You may decide that you want to set up your own network or group where small businesses can support each other.

This is a great opportunity to find ways of working that you may never have previously considered. At the same time companies are often at different stages of their professional journey so there’s also information to be had from people who are further down that road.

Opportunities for collaboration

It’s understandable that, having fought to win customers and build loyalty, there may be a certain reluctance to put yourself in a position that you might be highlighting other businesses to them because you’re working together. However there are absolute benefits in finding likeminded people to work with.

Perhaps you can share each other’s social media posts or even look at sharing some costs. For example, you may need someone to help with your admin tasks – could you fund someone between two or more businesses? Working with other people can also help you expand your horizons, introducing you to possible market segments that you may not have even considered before.

Consider collaborating on a competition or giveaway – by more than one company agreeing to support the prize pot it will give it added value and therefore higher levels of engagement. You may decide to run something via your social channels or perhaps contact a local radio station, newspaper or magazine. The better the perceived prize value, the more likely they are to want it – and that means getting to a larger audience.

Teaming up with another business isn’t the solution for everyone but it’s certainly worth considering. Find the ideal partner and it could be good news for everyone!

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