“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Sometimes the hardest part about collaborating with like-minded business owners is simply the decision to reach out and pursue it. It can be intimidating to come up with an idea, seek a partner to help you implement it, and reach the intended outcome. You are brave for even considering it! Once you get past that initial hurdle, the value of working together on a successful collaboration is abundant in both personal and professional returns. Let’s talk about some of those benefits and how to get from A to B to Z on a great collaborative project.
1. The Value of Combining Knowledge
A well-planned collaboration is very much a Thunder Cats moment. You combine your ideas, knowledge, and experience into one, more powerful creative team that can do more, be more, and reach more. As business owners we often have a niche, stay within a lane, and hustle in a way that is familiar and comfortable. It can be intimidating to venture into a new project knowing that you don’t have all of the knowledge and experience needed to make it the best it can be. This is where collaboration efforts can really shine. What would you do if you knew all the things necessary to pull it off? This is the value of combining knowledge on a team project. You don’t have to know everything! Find a partner who fills the gaps in experience that you need to make your project viable and ultimately successful.
Who do you know who has the skills and experience to help you with your idea? You don’t even need to know a specific person by name. What type of professional knows what you need to make your project complete? A real estate agent? Carpenter? Graphic Designer? Do a little research in your community and make a list of people and businesses who may have the skills you are seeking. Visit websites and gather contact information. Now, draft up an email with your idea framework and start reaching out. You may be surprised by the response you get. There might be someone out there waiting for an opportunity just like the one you are presenting.
2. The Value of Cross-Promotion
Not only are you gaining the knowledge and experience in a collaborative partnership, but you are also gaining a wider audience for your business. We all know that staying visible and being seen by the right market is one of the great challenges of small businesses. When you collaborate with a like-minded but adjacent business owner, you have a real opportunity to expand your brand visibility. Once you have found your collaboration partner, discuss cross-promotion ideas with them. How will you each promote the idea you are working on to your respective audiences? Social media posts, email list promotion, and website content are all amazing ways to spread the word about the collaborative project as well as the businesses themselves.
Here are a few easy ideas for cross-promotion while you are working together:
Social Media – Create branded posts for the project containing information and links to each business. Include QR codes in your graphics and tags in your posts to give your engaged audience easy access to each brand. Don’t forget that valuable video element! Go live on social media or create reels that feature each business and partner. Let your audience see you working together.
Email Newsletter – Write a dedicated email newsletter introducing the project and provide background on the collaborating businesses. Be sure to include hotlinks and social media links in your correspondence. Follow up with additional emails as the project advances, providing updates and additional opportunities to share about each business involved.
Website Content – Write a blog post about your event or project and share it with your audience. These backlinks are valuable SEO to the collaborating businesses as well as providing new potential clients and customers access to their websites and social media links. If you are planning an event together, add the details to your events calendar for your customers to see.
3. The Value of Shared Resources
Small business ownership is expensive! Advertising, supplies, venues, etc. all cost money and may be out of reach of your individual budget. When you work together on a project, you can share and divide those expenses without sacrificing quality or your bottom line. Often this means you can do more and reach more people, which is beneficial to every business involved. Dividing expenses can be a sensitive topic but discussing this aspect of your partnership openly and upfront can save you a lot of trouble and $$ later as your project progresses.
Of course, money is not the only resource that can be shared in a collaboration. Time is a valuable resource that most business owners run out of very quickly each day. Sharing the responsibility of planning an event or project can make it both more viable and easier to achieve. Try making a list of all of the tasks needed to complete your idea and discuss that list with your partner(s). How can you divide up the time-consuming tasks so that no one feels the full burden of planning and organizing?
When collaborating, sharing is caring! The more you work together, share the burden of the expenses, and divide the resources, the better the results for your collaboration efforts. More followers, clients, leads, sales, and engagement are sure to follow.
4. The Value of Inspiration
A successful collaboration can really get those creative ideas flowing and break that inspirational slump you may be feeling. It is easy to get to that place when you focus on the daily grind of entrepreneurship, but doing a little brainstorming about an idea that is bigger than your niche can lead you into the light. What have you really wanted to do but hesitated because you were uncertain that you had the energy and ideas to pull it off? Brainstorming and discussing your ideas with like-minded people can relight the spark of creativity, innovation, and inspiration. There is true value in sharing ideas, feeling inspired, and motivating each other to work toward a common goal that benefits you both.
The real beauty in collaboration is discovered when you find the partner you are seeking, and you are able to combine your strengths to turn an idea into reality. We hope this article was helpful in inspiring you to consider a collaboration in the future. Stay tuned to Vend Raleigh’s February event schedule for opportunities to network and possibly find your dream collaboration partner.