Small business owners can sometimes feel like it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. If you fall behind, even for a moment, a business with greater resources could swoop in and take your customers. But competition among businesses doesn’t always have to mean war. Instead of viewing other companies only as competitors, business owners should look at them as potential collaborators.
Collaboration is vital to every business. There are so many opportunities out there for businesses to work together to exchange ideas and increase purchasing power by using the “neighbor principle”. This when you go to your neighbor to borrow some milk because you’re out and the next day, if its floods, he brings his wet vac to help you. When this idea is applied to small business, companies can leverage each other’s strengths at little or no cost to grow both of their businesses.
There are plenty of ways that small business owners can use the neighbor principle and collaborate to bring about mutual growth. An independent web development company can offer their website design service to other businesses in exchange for a link back on the homepage. Small businesses with similar inventory needs can combine their orders to receive discounted wholesale prices. An events management company can host an event at restaurant to bring in business while marketing its own services. These examples show that working for and with other small businesses can be more powerful than working against them.
Collaboration saves time, saves money. Business owners benefit considerably when they collaborate with other entrepreneurs to build branding. There are costs associated with any venture, but when you team up with a company that provides goods or services that you don’t, you significantly reduce the time and money you put into a new undertaking and both businesses provide expertise and mutually beneficial services…strengthening each other. The more businesses you partner with, the larger your potential client base grows and the greater the demand for your product becomes.
To ensure you’re collaborating with a “merger” rather than a “moocher” and to safeguard yourself from pitfalls, ask yourself the following questions before entering an agreement:
- Can their industry or sector accommodate the needs of my company?
- Is this partnership professionally or personally driven?
- What am I committing to this partnership?
- What are my goals and objectives for this partnership?
- Specifically (and with as much detail as possible), how will the two businesses collaborate?
- What data, intellectual property, patents, and secured information may be shared/obtained while collaborating?
- What is the ROI of any funds allocated to this partnership?
- What is my business NOT offering that this potential partner IS offering?
While professional collaboration may be attractive, if the data doesn’t back the decision, it’s safer to go it alone or look for other partnership opportunities.
Most of all, keep it personal. It’s your business and your livelihood at stake. If you have doubts about collaboration, get a professional opinion. If you can’t get one, walk away. Better to err on the side of caution than risk an ill-informed partnership.
Destiny Planners collaborate with the following businesses that are registering new entrepreneurs.
- The Bloom Experience
- MOED Development
- EVA Easy Virtual Assistance
- Register Me TT
- Online Assistant TT
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