If you’ve ever started your own business or researched how to do so, you know that the process isn’t always as straight-forward as it may seem. Seemingly simple tasks like buying adequate insurance coverage or hiring staff can be challenging. So when it comes to pushing your product or service to a larger clientele, finding the time, budget, and resources can sometimes seem nearly impossible.
That’s where business partnerships come into play. Not only do business partnerships help you grow your client base, but they also help you boost revenue. Here’s how you can use business partnerships to expand your company:
Finding Your Business Partner
First and foremost, you’ll want to have a win-win relationship with your business partner. If you’ve opened a tire store, consider partnering with a detailing company; if you’ve opened a fitness gym, partner with a health-food store; if you’re a carpet cleaning company, connect with a window washer, etc. By joining forces with a congruent business, you’ll be able to access an audience that you may not otherwise have reached.
Be Sure You Share Core Values
Core values are the pillars of your business, so ensuring you share these same values with your business partner is key. Though they don’t have to align word-for-word, you should be able to recognize which businesses would be a good fit for a partnership and which businesses wouldn’t. What’s important here is to thoroughly research the prospective company to get anidea of how these values are integrated into their everyday business ventures.
If a business claims that honesty, integrity, customer service, and professionalism are the company’s core values, that should reflect in the way they do business. Remember, actions speak louder than words.
By partnering with another business, part of your reputation depends on them and theirs on you. You’ll want to partner with a company that uses their core values as driving forces for success, not just selling points.
Prepare As Partners
After finding “the one” – the business that’s the perfect partner for you – it’s time to create a joint business plan and prepare for each and every possibility the two of you could encounter. Begin by detailing in writing what your expectations are for the partnership. Things to note include:
- How money will be divided
- How problems, issues, and uncertainties will be solved
- How customer recommendations are handled
- How customers are treated
- How you’ll handle litigation or lawsuits
- How and you’ll restructure marketing strategies
Talk out every scenario you can think of – even if it’s uncomfortable – and be sure to come to clear agreements on how these issues or threats will be solved. By sharing values, being transparent, and knowing the clear expectations, your business partnership is less likely to end in turmoil.
Communication Is Key
As with most healthy relationships, communication is key. By keeping lines of communication open between partners, especially in bumpy and uncertain times, your two businesses are more likely to overcome obstacles and challenges. Things like keeping a regular meeting schedule, weekly lunch date, or open-door policy will aid in open communication. You’ll want to allow both you and your business partner a reliable, consistent time where you can openly discuss concerns, questions, sales tactics, etc. While communicating regularly is critical for resolving problems, it’s also beneficial for brainstorming new ideas and developing new techniques.
Develop A Strategy
Remember, your goal in this partnership is to grow your business, so creating a short-term and a long-term strategy is imperative. Initiatives in your short-term strategy will likely be things like how you’re going to introduce this partnership to target audiences, how you’ll market your brand through the partnership, and how your partner’s brand reputation will leverage your business.
Long-term strategies should include plans for how you’ll handle growth while avoiding risks and internal or external threats. Forming a business partnership will help you fill any competency gaps your business might be suffering from, so be sure to know how you’ll control this in the future. Also, consider ways to use your partnership to your advantage down the road. How could you both be more competitive? What makes your partnership unique? What keeps your clients coming back? Use these ideas to develop and implement strategies as your business grows and evolves.
Many of the world’s leading businesses have found success through business partnerships. With several reliable advantages and little risk, your company has everything to gain by partnering with a company who shares your values, complements your product or service, and is determined to expand their client base to ultimately boost their bottom line.