There are lots of parts of building a small business that are solitary and necessarily so. But, there are lots of things that can be done by partnering with other people or businesses. In many cases, both parties (and the clients) may benefit from the partnership. Here are a few examples of ways in which different companies/people can partner to lighten their workloads, save money, increase their audiences, or enhance their services.
1. Working with a marketing partner
A marketing partnership is when two companies use the same marketing piece to expose themselves. One of my clients is real estate agent who partners with a mortgage agent. They send out postcards as part of this relationship. Here are the benefits:
- split the cost of postcards – lowering their individual spends
- put their mailing lists together – both are reaching out to a new audience
- provide the look of enhanced service to prospective clients – they’ve made it look like a one-stop-shop
This works best when the companies’ brands have similar audiences and the services they provide are related (but don’t compete with each other).
2. Teaming up to service large clients or projects
Sometimes it is wise to partner when you have a very large or demanding client. By partnering with a colleague in the same business or one in a related business, you may be able to better work with the client. Partnering may mean you can:
- respond more quickly – if someone is out for the day, in meetings, away on business
- divide the workload between two people – projects get done in half the time
- enhance the service – perhaps a partner in a related field could make your business feel like it offers a “concierge-style” service for your client
Just make sure the expectations and responsibilities are clearly set between partners, first. Then between the partnership and their shared client. And don’t worry so much about splitting revenue with someone else – my friend is fond of saying “half of a pie is better than no pie at all”.
3. Hosting classes and events with another business
- pool together resources – you might have a projector and laptop, while your partnering organization may have space
- increase visibility – combine your mailing/marketing lists to share access to your collective clientele
- lighten the workload – if you divide and conquer, the preparation and clean up won’t be as bad
- provide experience and expertise on different topics – let’s say you want to host a class on selling your home, partnering organizations could be a realtor, a mortgage agent, a home inspector, an interior designer, a contractor