Is your startup or small business ready to grow? Partnering with other small businesses can be a great way to increase sales by expanding your reach to new audiences. Additionally, you may find that a mutually beneficial business relationship can help you to better handle a variety of logistics that may be too much for a small business to handle independently, such as marketing, shipping, manufacturing, and accounting.
The Pros and Cons
The main benefit of partnering with a small business is that you can share the workload. For example, if the company you partner with has a solid marketing department and you have a large social media following, you could both benefit from promoting each other’s products or services. In a small business setting, sometimes dealing with the many aspects of running a business can be overwhelming. Working with the right partner reduces the workload for both parties involved.
The downside is that sharing the load may also mean sharing the spotlight, especially if the other company sells a competitive product or service. That’s why it’s a smart move to find a non-competitive partner that still complements your business. For example, if your company sells maple syrup, partnering with a beef jerky company would make more sense than partnering with another syrup business. Both companies sell food, and your target audience is similar, but there shouldn’t be too much overlap as far as either business losing potential sales through cross-promotion.
Finding the Right Partner
The first step in finding a business partner is to determine your goals. This may be easy if there’s an obvious problem that needs a solution. For instance, if you’re struggling to ship your orders out on time, you may want to partner with a company that has plenty of shipping resources. In some cases, your goal and the approach needed to get there may be less clear, such as if you want to increase sales. In that case, you could brainstorm ways to increase sales, such as growing your social media following, improving your marketing content, and producing high-quality informational videos.
Once you decide on what you hope to receive from your partner, you need to figure out what you have to offer. In a business partnership, it’s absolutely crucial that both parties contribute equally in order to keep the relationship positive for everyone. Take a good look at your business, and try to find resources that you can spare that would also help out the other business. Say you have some great writers on your team. You could exchange written content for help making video content.
Start Slow and Build the Relationship Over Time
You may have to take a trial-and-error approach when partnering with another business. Before you commit to anything long-term, start off with a trial period. That way you can get a feel for how the partnership is going to work (or not work). When you reach out to another business, make it very clear what you hope to achieve and what you have to offer. Be friendly and communicative, and you may find that establishing business relationships is quite easy. Even if you don’t solidify a partnership on paper, it never hurts to connect with other small businesses, especially those in your local community.