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How to partner with other businesses for growth and success

How to partner with other businesses for growth and success

Posted 19th April, 2021 by Sarah

So, your business is up and running, and now you’re looking for ways to grow.

There’s an A to Z of ways to expand a small business. In the P section of the alphabet, you’ll find partnerships.

Partnering with other businesses can be hugely successful when done right, benefiting both parties.

In this article, we’ll look at why partnerships can be a catalyst for business growth, how to choose the right business to partner with and offer up some examples of great business partnerships.

Why partnerships are a great way for small businesses to grow

There are many types of business partnership. You might partner with a company for any of the following…

• To share tools

• To share expertise

• To reach a wider audience

• To share values

• To build reputation

• To improve efficiency

• To improve distribution channels

The result of all of these partnerships can be business growth in one way or another – for example reduced costs or increased sales.

It’s worth remembering that even charitable partnerships can reap rewards for your business. For example, you might decide to give 10 per cent of profits from a certain product to a charity, but in return you could benefit from the exposure your products and services get when that charity tells its supporters about your deal.

It’s also important to remember that partnerships need to be just that - partnerships. They’re not about one company getting what they want and the other getting nothing in return. When discussing terms, the needs of both companies should be assessed and addressed. The best partnerships are long-term, involving strategies that benefit both parties.

How to set up the right business partnership

Find a business that complements yours: This might be obvious for you, but if you’re struggling, do some research about the companies your customers might use before and after they come to you.

For example, if you’re a coffee shop, can you partner with the a local hotel to give their customers 10 per cent off their mid-morning coffee?

Don’t rush: finding the right partnership can take time. If you need to, invest a little extra time in networking to find your perfect fit. Be mindful that it can take up to a year and sometimes even more to find the best partner.

Don’t write off competitors: it may sound counter intuitive to partner with a competitor, however, some great partnerships have taken place between rivals over the years.

For example, when The Art of Shaving teamed up with Gillette to create the Fusion Chrome Collection – premium Art of Shaving razors that only worked with Gillette blades.

The fiercest rivals of all – Burger King and McDonalds – have even teamed up in the past. In the USA, when McDonalds was donating $2 for every Big Mac purchased, Burger King took its Whopper off the menu for a day and used the hashtag #adaywitoutawhopper to support the fundraising efforts.

Harness the power of local: research carried out in the middle of the pandemic suggests that the crisis has made more people want to support local businesses and products. And teaming up with other local businesses is one of the easiest ways to create a partnership.

For example, if you are a café – can you offer a discount on coffee or cakes to anyone visiting the local hairdressers?

Or are you a local bar that can provide cocktails to shoppers at a local giftshop during a special late night shopping event?

Establish a conflict resolution process at the start: No-one wants to enter a partnership thinking about how it might fail, however it’s essential to talk to your new partner business about conflict resolution procedures from the start.

Examples of great business partnerships

Weetabix and Heinz: In February 2021, Weetabix and Heinz teamed up for a publicity stunt that saw Weetabix suggest serving their breakfast biscuits topped with baked beans. The union sparked comical horror on social media and data from YouGov BrandIndex UK revealed that Ad Awareness for Weetabix rose from 15.7 to 20.9 and Heinz’s ratings tripled in the space of a single week because of the partnership.

Casper and West Elm - Casper sells mattresses that arrive in a box, and West Elm is a high-end furniture company. Together, they’re a match made in heaven. Casper doesn’t have stores of its own, so by partnering with West Elm it allows more hesitant customers to head to a bricks and mortar store to try out the mattresses before they buy them. At the same time, this drives more customers to West Elm’s stores.

High-end fashion and H&M - Alexander Wang, Simone Rocha and Versace have all partnered with H&M in recent months. Designer and budget fashion may not seem like they would work together, but the campaigns have been enormously successful. Not only do they introduce a new, younger audience to the catwalk fashion brands, but H&M attracts a different audience thanks to the designer’s credentials. Plus, these limited collections invariably sell out.

Spotify and Uber – the music app and ride sharing app partnered in 2014 to enable passengers music control while taking an Uber. For Uber, the advantage was an additional USP for their business, while Spotify reached a whole new potential market. It’s a great example of a business partnership done right.

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Categories: COVID-19, Small Businesses

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