“Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much”
Collaboration is the new buzz word that is taking the entrepreneurial world by storm. It is a powerful tool for business growth and can help business owners save time and money whilst expanding and innovating their products and services. There is no doubt that starting a new business can be a little scary, but you don’t have to do it all alone! Here are the many benefits of partnering up with another:
Takes you out of your comfort zone
Starting a business steps you outside your comfort zone, however it is easy to get a little complacent and direct your focus entirely on yourself and business. Collaborating makes you get out there and meet new people and the more people you meet and more connections you make, the more chance of people knowing who you are and what you offer. Meetup events are a great way to meet like-minded professionals and there is pretty much a group to suit any interest – I even had someone contact me looking for like-minded nudists to join him, I wasn’t interested but whatever makes you happy.
Most networking events generally have a speaker, so not only do you get a chance to meet new people but you can also learn valuable information from business owners who have been in your shoes. Many of my clients have come from attending networking events and I have always walked away from one with a little extra knowledge and an inspired heart.
One tip, when attending a networking event, always be mindful of throwing your business card in people’s faces. The idea is to start up conversations and form connections. If you get a client out of that, it’s a bonus.
Inspires new visions
If you work from home, it can start to feel a little lonely. Teaming up with someone new can get you out of the house and into other environments, which then inspires you to think more outside the box. Having two sets of minds, ideas and experiences may be the co-creation of even something bigger than imagined. It also gives you that extra support or motivation when you need a little nudge.
A close friend of mine, who is also a business owner, was on the phone to me this week excitedly telling me how she had found someone who wants to collaborate with her and how everything so far had come together so seamlessly. Finding someone who understands and supports what you do is priceless. Finding someone who can help add value to your business and take it to the next level is one of the best feelings a business owner can have. Supporting and encouraging each other will in return see each business flourish.
Collaborates instead of competes
“Collaboration is the new competition” – David Amerland
When starting a new business, it is completely normal to get a little anxious over competitors, but instead of comparing yourself and watching their every move, it might be worth joining forces. Partnering up with another business owner can help set better goals and bring in more knowledge, motivation and experience to both business partners.
The saying ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ has some truth to it in business. Teaming up with another person can give you extra knowledge in your own industry and can also double your list of contacts and clients, providing more sources for referrals. Getting to know your competitors could form a bond and create a relationship that lasts for a long time.
By building alliances, you just never know when you might need someone to have your back.
Offers an exchange of services
Starting out in a small business and the early stage of growth can be a little challenging to seal the deal with clients, especially ones that are your niche target. This is why it is always a great idea to offer an exchange of services. Swap your skills for a monetary figure. An example of this could be a hairdresser offering a photographer a hair makeover in exchange for salon photographs or a mechanic providing a car service to an accountant in exchange for accounting advice. It then becomes a win-win situation for both parties.
Exchanging services can give each party extra knowledge and added skills and is great for getting testimonials and building case studies. Just remember the exchange should be equal and fair for both parties. It is always good to check in with each other as time goes on to make sure you are both getting value out of this agreement.
Pays it forward
Help other business, and you never know what will come back to you. There are so many selfless people in the business world who want to help you grow your business and see you succeed. A perfect example is when I received an email from someone I did work for, giving me advice on extra ways to market myself as his field is in digital strategy, which was a very unexpected and kind gesture.
I often get a little caught up in giving too much advice, which given to the wrong people are taken advantage of, but this is the ‘giving’ aspect of my personality. I personally love to see others succeed and if I can be a contributor to this, it makes me really happy. When you find someone who is interested in what you do and how you can partner up and help them with their business, it gives you a sense of self belief that your product or service is valuable.
Nowadays collaboration is essential to small business survival. As small to medium business owners, it is important to find a support network that has your back. Looking at other businesses as potential partners instead of threats or competitors will enable you to deliver more to your clients and customers. Harnessing the power of collaboration can inspire new visions, create better connections, reduce costs, add extra value to your services, form long-lasting relationships and ultimately move your business forward on the path of success.