Dog-eat-dog. Rat race. Survival of the fittest. Nothing we haven’t heard before. Nothing that we haven’t all internalized and let dictate our world and business views. But, are these views affecting how we should be doing business? Needless to say, competition is not non-existent. As living, breathing business owners, you know firsthand that isn’t the case. But, in the spirit of competitiveness, are you isolating yourself from better opportunities?
There’s a lot to be said for collaboration, partnership, and aligning yourself with like-minded individuals. We strive to live out that credo everyday, heck it’s even in our name: C3 = Connect, Collaborate, Community. We’ve found success in reaching out and building strategic partnerships, and want to help you do the same. Yes, competition is real. No, you don’t have to face it alone.
Mind the Gap
First step? Take a good hard look inward:
- What does your company excel at?
- What’s your culture?
- Where are the gaps?
- For an in-depth assessment, download our free tool here: Strategic Partnership Assessment
You can’t seek out or align yourself with strategic partners until you know what you want to be, where you want to go, and who you want to be associated with in any business relationship.
Define, Define, Define
After an in-depth assessment, you should be able to pinpoint the kind of partnership that would work best for you. Consider the following:
Strategic Marketing Partnership
Marketing Partnerships work best for small business. This includes referral agreements, or partnering with a business in your niche that isn’t a direct competitor. For instance, are you a web content writer but you don’t create sites? Seek out a web developer to partner with.
Strategic Integration Partnerships
Integration Partnerships work best when the services you’re providing utilize specific programs or software. Many companies offer reseller options or partnerships so you can offer discounted deals on required software as an incentive for new clients.
Strategic Technology Partnerships
These days, technology *is* the workplace. Partnering with an IT company, especially if you’re, say a web developer or a service provider (like us) living in your client’s cloud or remote desktop, is not only strategic, it’s downright necessary.
Strategic Financial Partnerships
We know you should be working ON your business instead of just IN it, so partnering with a company to address bookkeeping and accounting is a no-brainer. Not only does it free up time, but your finances will be handled by a professional. Less stress, anyone?
Collaboration at First Sight?
OK, you’ve done your planning. You’ve identified your needs. At this point, you should have an idea of the type of industry you’re considering to partner with. Is it someone you know or someone new? Have you approached them? Presented a solid plan on how this can be a win-win? (Again, our free download tool can help with this part). Now you’re ready to press forward with a partnership. We would suggest you start strategically: talk through your expectations and create a referral agreement. Both of you should complete the assessments and you should share your results. Always make sure this remains a win-win and that both sides are contributing on equal terms.
Thought Leaders: Assemble!
Here’s the fun part. Now you get to show the world why your partnership matters. Create co-branded marketing materials, host events together, plug each other on social media, create a page on your site that highlights your partnership. Let the world know that you’ve found ways to benefit each other, but more importantly – make sure your clients know how this partnership benefits them. Your client base should feel like they’re always getting the better deal of this partnership, as they should! Let them know why they matter and why your two businesses partnered in the first place.
Strategic Partnerships can be an enormous step for your business, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. It may not work the first time, but that doesn’t mean it never will. That’s why planning ahead and remaining diligent on the returns is important. But above all, these partnerships should be an example of not only business helping business, but of businesses helping the small business community at large.
Thinking of initiating a partnership and need some advice? We can help. We’ve done it, and we continue to do so. Click here to learn more. As we like to say, don’t put off today what will make a better tomorrow.