Some of the best things in the world require more than one person to work well – hugs, kisses, conversations and dressing up as a horse for Halloween.
So why would business be any different?
Some of the best business things also need two people, coffee catch ups, collaborative brainstorms, the business-client relationship, and of course… strategic business alliances.
If you are looking for an innovative and effective way to scale your small business, you should consider establishing strategic partnerships or alliances with other companies. A good business partnership will build your brand recognition, increase your reach, and allow you to become known across a larger audience.
Will A Business Alliance Work For My Business?
Business alliances are great for any type of brand, whether you offer products, services or both. For example, a gymwear business could benefit from partnering with a sports accessory business that offers drink bottles, hydration packs, or fitness watches. A web design agency could partner with a copywriting business and refer work between each other.
Working in a strategic alliance is incredibly useful as part of your marketing strategy and is a cheaper alternative to other more expensive forms of advertising.
But you can’t just make any old alliance and expect the dollars to roll in. So, here is what you need to know about forming successful strategic business alliances:
Choose The Right Alliances
There are a few things to consider when looking for the best business to partner with. The first would be your target demographic. Their demographic needs to be a similar kind of client to yours, without a huge overlap in the people you have connected with. That way, you can both successfully gain more of the right kind of client for your business.
It is also very important to identify what you both want out of the relationship. How is this partnership is going to grow both of your businesses and what steps you will each take to get there? If your businesses are heading in different directions then your goals won’t align and the partnership will not be as successful as it could be.
You should also only work with brands that have a good, trusted reputation (or at least, ones with no PR scandals!)
Work With Your Competitors
While it might feel natural to want to compete with similar businesses, it is more beneficial to work together and support each other. There is plenty of work to go around. Different companies have totally different brands, styles, areas of expertise, and ways of getting stuff done. All of these things grab the awareness of different customers.
Every business will have a niche that they are targeting, but sometimes clients outside that niche will approach your business. If you are not the right person to handle the job, it is great to be able to refer them to someone that can help.
That way, the client gets the help they need and both businesses get to work in their own area of genius.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Connections with big, established brands are great if that’s the kind of collaboration you are after. These alliances can allow you to immediately access a large, pre-existing customer base. However, it is important that you don’t overlook the little guys in favour of chasing the big alliances.
You are more likely to make an arrangement with a smaller business as you are both at the same stage. Don’t discount startups either – everyone has to begin somewhere. Lots of smaller companies work with each other to achieve excellent results.
Here is a great example. Back in 2014, Spotify and Uber were growing their awareness. They had not reached the lofty heights of brand recognition that they have now. They arranged that people could preselect a Spotify playlist and it would already be loaded and playing when they climbed into their Uber. It was the perfect mix and both gained a large amount of exposure from the partnership. They are now both major global companies with histories of impressive and successful business partnerships.
Make It Work For Both Of You
The long-term success of a business alliance is dependent on finding solutions that work for both parties. It has to be a two way street. One person can’t shoulder all the work. You need to ensure the relationship is beneficial to you both.
Make sure to bring your best contributions to the table. What unique benefits does your company have to offer? What will their company gain from this deal?
Communication Is Key
As with any relationship, communication is key. Honesty is essential to any business alliance so that you can ensure you are both getting what you want from the arrangement and are happy with the process, as well as the results.
Knowing how to respectfully disagree with your partner business is important if something isn’t going well. As is being open and receptive to feedback or constructive criticisms of your own ideas.
If you want to know how strategic business alliances could work for your business, then get in touch with me here at The Marketing Baker. I truly believe that we can all work together to make our businesses great!