Partnering: A Business Advantage For The Davids vs. The Goliaths
Consistent with the philosophy that small businesses can compete with large businesses if they focus on what they can do that the large corporations can’t, we look at how small businesses can forge much better partnerships with others.
What Is Partnering For Small Business
Partnering means forging links with other businesses, and non-profits to exchange services, cross-market, and work together to increase each partner’s ability to market and profit.
The Small Business Partnering Advantage
It’s exceedingly rare that you see large companies partnering with other large businesses.
First, the complexity of working with other companies increases with the size of the company. Partnership deals need to be:
- Formally arranged
- Legally protected
- Approved at multiple levels
- Slowly negotiated
Contrast that with, let’s say one small business arranging to refer potential clients to other small businesses. All you need to do is “do it”. You don’t even need a formal document, particularly if the partnership doesn’t directly involve the exchange of money.
You can do it quickly, informally and effectively.
An Example: Spaceman Music In Ottawa
Spaceman music is a small musical instrument store in Ottawa, Canada, that competes against several large, well run and nation wide companies in the space.
What they’ve done is partner with a small drum store, that operates in the same niche but doesn’t compete directly, and a local nightclub to provide services for musical performances at the nightclub.
Here’s how they describe it:
SPACEMANMUSIC is pleased to announce that, we, along with our good neighbor, Dave’s Drum Shop, are providing the back line for artists’ use at the weekly ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX “Showcase Mondays”. The sound technician will record each performance and each artist will get a cd of their show. (they’ve got the Zaphod’s/ Spaceman Music/ Dave’s Drum Shop logo on them… they look really great!). CHECK OUT SOME GREAT BANDS EVERY MONDAY at ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX – NO COVER CHARGE.
So, let’s look at this in more detail.
The partnerships all benefit through mentions and any kinds of cross promotions. And what better way to establish brands for musical instruments than to help performers perform. For free.
No money is involved at all, and the resulting partnership results in good public relations for all parties.
And, it’s a labor of love. Everyone involved in the partnership is keen, if not obsessed with music, with high levels of knowledge.
Some Tips On Small Business Partnering
- Some of the best partners are those that work in the same niche, but don’t actually compete. That’s the case above. All three partners are in the “music” performance niche, yet none compete directly.
- In approaching other businesses to partner the best step is to start by asking them how YOU can help them, after of course explaining your business to them if necessary. Focus on what you can do for them first.
- Come into the discussion with a few ideas of how you might work with the other business. A lot of small business owners haven’t thought of partnering, so they may need some “seed ideas” to start.
- You can partner with businesses that are completely different than your own, particularly if other businesses serve the same people. For example, a retail knitting shop and a company that provides instruction to kids for creating crafts can work together, because often you’ll find clientele with interests in both.
- Keep things informal. Partnering works best when it capitalizes on speed and flexibility because it’s usually the case that big businesses can copy that.
- Don’t be afraid to partner with companies that appear to compete directly. Often they don’t. For example, a Greek restaurant can partner with a Chinese restaurant quite effectively, but usually don’t because they see each other as competitors. They aren’t. Most restaurant goers don’t each Greek food every time they go out. Likewise with dinners at the Chinese restaurant. So, for example, having an area in each with recommendations for other types of food and menus available locally can work well.
- Finally, be creative. After all if you try partnering and it doesn’t work, you haven’t lost anything except a little time. Feel free to approach other businesses and present them with small business “experiments”, to see what works, and what doesn’t
Large companies NEVER do these kinds of things. You can.
In the realm of small business, it is crucial to recognize the power of strategic partnerships. By leveraging the strengths and resources of compatible businesses, small enterprises can create a formidable force that rivals even the giants in the industry. Embracing the collaborative approach allows small businesses to tap into a wider pool of expertise, expand their reach, and gain a competitive edge in the market. Partnering is undeniably a game-changer for the Davids, empowering them to stand tall against the Goliaths of the business world.