You can feel it – your business is getting ready to take on the big leagues and it’s all starting to go the way you’ve dreamed. It’s “make it or break it” time now.
You can’t afford to be worried about all the different sides of your business – you need focus and single-minded determination.
Now, most of all, is when you need strong business partnerships to carry you through the turbulence of this period into the success coming your way.
Having strong and cleverly created business partnerships means not having to worry as much about certain aspects of your business.
We’re going to discuss how to form relationships with the top 4 partnerships that can deliver real value to your business.
A strategic partnership is one that contributes fundamentally to the value you deliver and allows you greater reach and a larger target market with your core product.
For example, if your clients tend to need help with a particular aspect of your service or product which you don’t directly offer, you can form a strategic partnership with someone who does.
Imagine a divorce attorney also having a family counsellor on speed dial, whose services the lawyer packages as part of their overall product. Obviously having this partnership means both parties benefit: one gets to access more clients, while the other gives clients complete satisfaction of their needs.
The key to a strategic partnership is this mutual benefit: this isn’t a supplier-buyer relationship or anything like that. It’s two individual businesses that complement each other, and this is particularly useful for small businesses looking to grow.
So, how can you create one of these partnerships?
First things first, make sure you have a clear plan in terms of how this partnership benefits each of you. Be particularly sure you’ve got a strong list of benefits for the person you’re pitching to.
If you go out telling people how great you are and asking for them to help you, you won’t have much success. In comparison, offer them something they want, and then outline how your business can help them get it.
Next, pick who you’re going to talk to about this. The ideal person is both a personal connection and quite well-connected within their company.
This doesn’t mean you’re restricted to only family or close friends, but that genuine interpersonal contact means they’re going to hear you out even when they might dismiss someone else out of hand.
Plus, if you don’t want to waste your time, it’s important to focus on the people who can make things happen – a receptionist might not be as effective as, say, the head of sales.
And, then it just comes down to discussing your idea and being open to adapting the plan to maximise the benefits for the other party and their willingness to come to the table. Obviously, this shouldn’t hurt your business either, so keep an eye out.
Related Article: How to Propose a Strategic Partnership
This is essentially a relationship where it’s all about cross-promotion.
Your business should have a platform for reaching out to your supporters and interested parties (consider using a podcast, as suggested by Jeremy Slate), which you can use to both promote what you’re doing and what your partners are doing.
This has multiple benefits: first and foremost, the question of reciprocity. If you promote a sale or new content release by a partner, you’re gaining someone who will later promote you to their audience.
Obviously, this increases your reach and the number of people who can become interested in what you do. Never a bad thing.
But, that benefit only comes when someone promotes you in return.
Even in the act of promoting someone else, you’re actually helping your audience and your customers gain more trusted people to help them out with their needs.
Imagine you are a consumer, subscribed to a blog about healthy eating. One day, the blog-owner, knowing their audience, promotes a sale on rowing machines being run by one of their marketing partners.
How relevant would this item be to you? Likely, quite relevant, meaning that the blog-owner has just gone beyond just healthy eating into helping you with a healthy lifestyle.
They’re expanding on the value they’re delivering and their customers will thank them for opening a new avenue into healthy living for them.
This is all about working with a partner to jointly create valuable content which your consumers will appreciate.
This is particularly relevant if your business produces and distributes content like podcasts, videos, ebooks, etc.
It can seem, at first glance, a little like a marketing partnership, but the key difference is what stage your partner is involved in.
In the context of an ebook, a marketing partnership would help you tell people that you’ve created this incredible ebook and are now looking to sell/ give it away.
However, a content partnership is more fundamental: you and your partner would have jointly written the book, pouring your individual experiences and suggestions into this one creation.
Naturally, you’d work together afterwards to promote it!
Related article: What Business Owners Need to Know About SEO in 2017
The real value of this type of partnership is expanding the amount/diversity of the content you create and the brand recognition.
Basically, more minds mean more multifaceted content, which can help your customers gain new perspectives and ultimately have them come to rely on you.
And, having an external person invested in making this content truly popular means you’re going to get a wider reach, particularly if you’ve partnered with someone who’s a recognised name in a certain field.
Benefits all round!
Possibly the most self-explanatory of all the partnerships, a supplier partnership is basically where you work closely with the people who give you the materials to help your customers.
It’s easy to think of the relevance of this partnership in an industry like manufacturing, however, it’s also very useful in services.
Think about it this way: you’re an accounting firm and do all the thinking and calculations yourself. Could be that you have no suppliers.
But, who do you get your computers from? Your accounting software? The pens, paper, and pot plants that make up your office?
Don’t discount the necessity of each of these to the smooth operations of your office and to your overall productivity. The right suppliers can make everything so much easier and more effective.
It’s not hard to create a genuine personal relationship with the suppliers of each of these – all it takes is a phone call, maybe meeting up for coffee, maybe inviting them to your next office Christmas party.
And, the benefits are significant – who wants to spend time on hold waiting for the guy at the computer store to get back to you so your employee can actually do their work and get the project to the client on time? These little things contribute to an overall happier and more productive workplace.
We’ve told you a fair bit about the key business partners you should look into for your business’ success.
These partnerships could help you reach the heights you wouldn’t have been able to reach on your own.
Want to save, money and stress when selecting the right partners to work with for your business? Download our free guide: 4 Powerful Questions Every Entrepreneur Needs to Ask Suppliers to Rapidly Grow