As a small business, one thing you can do to rapidly grow your brand is to seek out strategic partnerships with like-minded larger businesses particularly those that share commonalities and target markets, but which are not direct competitors.
Forming partnerships enables a smaller company to take advantage of an existing consumer base, as well as valuable resources and marketing channels that have already been put in place. For the larger company, it can position them as an early adopter, provide value-added for their customers and even prove to be a testing ground for a potential gaining down the line. Whether you want to boost sales, increase brand awareness or go after a new market, here are a few ways that creative partnerships can give you the edge you need over other competing small businesses.
- Find bigger brands that share a target audience and provide a win-win offer: Successful partnerships are all about identifying which companies are also targeting your ideal customer and finding a way to provide value back to the partner.
For example, tailors in communities which rent out designer dresses to women attending special events. The tailors need to reach a large audience in order to hit their goals, they needed to target the right kind of people women needing a beautiful designer gown who were interested in low-cost ethical consumption.
Event planners are the perfect partners, and systematically approach every Event planner in their domain and propose a mutually beneficial partnership, if they agreed to promote the brand and services to their clients, the tailors would donate an agreed-upon percentage of any direct sales back into the event planners account. It is a win-win situation and, with time, these partnerships will account for a large amount of the revenue.
- Look to other startup companies for partnerships: Effective strategic partnerships don’t always have to be between a small company and a big brand lots of startups team up with each other for great gain.
An example is the partnership between Spotify and Uber. The digital music service and ride-hailing company teamed up to provide combined personalized services. Uber customers can listen to their own playlists during their ride or choose what they want to listen to from Spotify’s streaming catalogue.
On Spotify’s part, the partnership clearly set them apart from other leading audio-sharing industry giants, such as Apple Music, while also encouraging existing consumers to upgrade their Spotify accounts. For Uber, the tactic gave the tech company meaningful leverage over their competitors as the deal was exclusive to Uber vehicles.
- Use partnerships to promote services, not just products: This can also work for service businesses. Business owners that provide services can form partnerships with other businesses that offer complementary services.
For example hotels and ushers, hotels provide services for the comfort of their clients, while the ushering services are complimentary services of benefit to the hotels.
- Build the foundation for a long-lasting partnership:
As you build the partnership roster for your small business, try to find solutions that benefit both parties. Remember: your long-term success is contingent on finding win-win solutions.
Finding the right partners and reaching the right agreement may take time and iteration, but its well worth it and may be the edge that allows you to grow. As long as you’re upfront about any limitations when striking a deal, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by seeking out and securing strategic partnerships for your small business.