When looking for new ways to market your business, partnering with another company is an effective way to expand your customer base. Strategic partnerships allow you to provide value to existing customers, presents the opportunity to reach new patrons, and can allow for free or reduced advertising costs.
Partnerships can be beneficial for businesses of all different types or sizes. The critical ingredient to forming a strong solid relationship is to help build, cultivate and make the most out of the partnership. Business partnerships should be built over time with clear expectations and trust between the two independent parties. Setting clear and defined roles and expectations for the partnership will help both businesses be successful. We have a couple of ideas to help get you started when partnering with other businesses.
Host a Joint Event
Events are a great way to create buzz and drive foot traffic to your business! By partnering with another business to host an event, you have someone to share the cost of marketing the events, license fees, and more. You also have someone to work with when problems arise – and they always do! And in the end, you are both doubling the number of customers you might have normally received hosting an event solo!
Co-Sponsor a Fundraising Event
Helping donate to a good cause doesn’t have to be hosting a large event at your establishment or taking the day off to help volunteer (though those are both great things!). A great way to partner with another business while supporting a great cause is to collect donations or donate a percentage of monthly sales in collaboration with another business doing the same. This is a great way to make local connections while doing some good for a worthwhile cause!
Offer a Referral Bonus or Discount
Referral bonuses or discounts are a great, low stress way to drive more traffic to your respective businesses. For example, if a strategic partner sends a customer your way, you can offer a discount off the bill or a free appetizer. This encourages other business owners to get to know one another and recommend each other. This type of promotion works well for businesses who have similar target audiences or have businesses in the same industry. While friendly competition is always a good thing, there can be real benefits to working together as business owners.
Business partnerships must be cultivated over time and should be built on a foundation of clear expectations and trust. No matter how you choose to partner with other establishments, it is important to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals. SMART goals allow you and your new business partner to remain accountable and on task. Be sure to write these goals down together to manage expectations and accountability.
Being a small business owner and entrepreneur does not mean working alone. Creating a network of partners and allies is a great way to better yourself and your business. Have you started a partnership with another business? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!