Janeal Ford of Fordable Freelance says that–especially when it comes to funding your business (her area of expertise)–take the words “unique” and “only” out of your vocab. Recognize that there are organizations with similar goals to yours. Instead of seeing other businesses in your industry as competitors, realize that they are potential partners. Acknowledge and appreciate what you each offer. Identify how your differences can compliment each other, how you can partner to serve your common interest or audience.
For examples, I’m a yoga instructor in San Diego–you bet I am not the only one! I partner with other yoga instructors to co-promote our classes, to sub for each other, and to offer our students additional opportunities for yoga. I’ve also partnered with instructors of other fitness styles, offices, and physical therapists to offer yoga to their clients, and vice versa. There are so many other ways to collaborate: offer discounts, host an event together, share each others’ content on your blogs or websites!
Your time is valuable so here are some suggestions for how to make sure your partnership is successful instead of extra work for you: 1) Only partner with organization or individuals you respect and trust. Do a little bit of research on them before you associate your brand with theirs. For example, if you google the business and the first thing that pops up is their one star on Yelp, you may want to reconsider. If you have a gut feeling that the partnership is a bad idea, hold off. 2) Set expectations. Are you going to share the workload or will one side carry most of it? Have a conversation about what you will each contribute. It doesn’t hurt to spell out tasks, deadlines, and logistics in an email or even make a project plan if it’s a bigger initiative. Consider the repercussions if they don’t hold up their end of the deal.
The risk is worth the reward.
On a practical level, you can greatly increase your audience by sharing it with another business and receiving access to theirs in return. On a holistic level, living life with open hands, sharing your blessings, and enabling others usually results in even more abundance. Resist the urge to hoard your resources like a jealous, insecure girlfriend because that selfish attitude stifles growth and peace!
1. Make a list of
competitors potential partners. Identify what they might be able to bring your audience, and vice versa.
2. Brainstorm some ideas for how you might partner with them–events, discounts, co-promotion, etc.
3. Reach out to those potential partners with your ideas.
Have you had success partnering with someone? How did you work together and what was the result? Share as a comment on this post.