• Matt Phillips

Collaboration: The Secret Weapon You’ve Been Looking For

As a business owner, one of the BEST tools at your disposal is something you might not expect: other businesses! The fact is, there are TONS of other business owners out there just like you looking to grow, but too many people neglect to take advantage of this incredibly useful, readily available tool.

By collaborating with other businesses, you can save money, increase your scope, expand your audience, and so much more. This week, we’re trying our best to convince you of why YOU need to start collaborating with other businesses. Here are 3 reasons you should consider doing this, as well as 4 ways to actually going about collaborating! Let’s jump into it.

3 Reasons to collaborate with other businesses:

#1 – Saving money

In many industries, competing with other businesses means competing for ad impressions with your audience. By pouring money and resources into hammering your audience with ads to spread awareness about your business, you’re hurting your margins. Instead, maybe you should consider teaming up with a “competitor” in the industry and joining forces! Why both spend massive amounts of money just to compete for people’s attention? Simply reach an agreement about who gets which leads, start co-branding ads, and watch the impressions grow!

Another money-saving tactic for collaboration is sharing an office space! With this strategy, it obviously does not matter what industry you’re in; you can share an office space with just about anyone! If you and the business next door are both paying ridiculous rent prices to maintain a storefront, why not combine your offices, co-brand your signage, and save a fortune? Not only will this save you money, it will also build a relationship with another local business that may be lucrative for you in the future! Collaboration is a GREAT way to steward your money well and start setting up your business for long-term success.

#2 – Expanding your scope

For most companies, there is a demographic of people, a product or service, or an advertising space that you really want to break into but keep coming up short. Whether this is because of money constraints, equipment limitations, or any other factor, it can be incredibly frustrating to feel stuck in one place. One of the best ways to break out of this rut is by joining forces with another company!

Chances are, there is another business in a similar field that has expanded its reach to the area you’re chasing after. And it’s very likely that you have something to offer to them as well! Instead of competing with them and both suffering, maybe you should consider combining efforts to expand and grow both of your companies to the scope that you’re after! If you do this, you’ll piggy-back off of their efforts (and they yours) to reach twice the audience, manufacture twice the number of products, or advertise in twice the mediums that you used to. Whatever your goal is, it is SO much easier to expand your scope when you have a partner in crime!

#3 – Capitalizing on skillsets

If you’re a business owner, you MUST be skilled in at least one area, otherwise you wouldn’t be in business! But, like everyone, you have shortcomings. There are certain skills that you just don’t possess, and that’s okay. Instead of bowing to your own limitations, it’s SO much more advantageous to find someone else (another business owner, perhaps) who is in a similar industry but is skilled in a completely different area than you. That person, though they have their own set of shortcomings, will compliment your skillset, and you’ll most likely compliment theirs. Even if you’re in a different industry than them, most people have something that they can offer to others!

A classic example of business collaboration is a coffee shop and local artists. In just about every coffee shop you may visit, you’ll see a variety of art displayed in the store, likely created by different local artists! That coffee shop, seeing a need to decorate their store, has partnered up with local artists, displaying their art and in turn promoting those artists to their customers. Coffee and painting are different, unique skillsets, but by combining them, both parties can benefit greatly. By capitalizing on the skillsets of all kinds of different people, you can grow your business and help them grow theirs! Now, let’s move on to some easy ways that you can start partnering with other businesses!

4 Ways to collaborate with other businesses:

#1 – Offer to trade services

One of the easiest ways to effectively collaborate with another business is with a simple quid-pro-quo! Say you’re an HR firm and they’re a marketing agency. It would be incredibly smart to come to some kind of agreement that allowed you to trade services – you give them free or discounted HR services and they do your marketing for free or a discount. By each offering something desirable to the other company, you both get something you need and save lots of money!

Maybe you’re a remodeling company and one of your customers has a giant storefront right in the middle of a busy downtown street; it would be smart to do the job for a discount, asking them to display an ad for your business in turn. Whatever the deal looks like, a trade can be one of the simplest, most lucrative forms of collaboration!

#2 – Share advertising efforts

In 2021, advertising costs a fortune. Especially in the display ads space, you’ll have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get anything noticeable. Because every business needs to advertise, and because everyone also wants to save some money, it would be SO much better to split the cost of a display ad with another company – maybe even a bigger, more visible ad – and each use half of the space. That way, you get a bigger, more eye-catching ad space, you only pay for half of it, and you get that company’s customers to notice you!The same goes for billboards, which are also stupidly expensive.

Another way you could combine forces is by splitting the cost of a booth at an event or trade show. It can be super pricy to book a good location for your booth, and it would often take your entire advertising budget to pull that off. Instead of spending a fortune, maybe you should consider joining with another company to rent a primo booth in an optimal location, each taking half of the booth space. That way, you get a great, visible booth and double the potential customers (you’ll have their customers walking right up to you, too)! Whatever the situation, it can be a great idea to share in advertising efforts with another company.

#3 – Get “certified” by them

If you’re in a business where expertise and skill is the most important trait for building trust with the community (such as construction or plumbing), getting “certified” or “approved” by a more well-known company can go a LONG way for you. If you, a construction company, can get the “certification” of an interior design firm, their customers will be much more likely to choose you for their projects. This goes back to the first method of collaboration – maybe you could trade a discount on a remodeling project for their certification! Building an extra level of credibility with the community can be the difference between success and failure, so, especially if you’re in a service business, you should really look into doing this!

#4 – Partner up on social media

In 2021, social media is the #1 tool for getting the word out about anything, including your business! Building up a social profile for your company by yourself can be a daunting task, but it can be made much simpler by getting a “shoutout” from a more established company. If they tag you in their posts, use your hashtags, share your posts, and send their audiences to your page, you can piggyback off of their success to grow awareness for your company!

Again, this could involve a trade of some sort, or it could just be a show of good faith in another local business. The business community is at its best when everyone helps everyone else out, not competes with them and seeks to steal business from them. For that reason, being kind and charitable to other businesses on social media can be one of the best ways to grow your following and get awareness out about your business!

We hope these ideas were helpful to you as you start to reach out and collaborate with other businesses! Remember to be charitable to other businesses, because someone probably was to you at some point. Good luck! For some more great brand-building content and more podcast episodes like this one, check us out over at digitalbrandnation.com. Peace✌️ #TeamBrandNation

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