As a small business owner, you already understand how important and precious your time and bandwidth is. The most successful small business owners are often the ones who are able to delegate and outsource where possible, in order to focus on the core business.
However, you can take this big step forward by developing mutually-beneficial relationships with other business owners. Ideally, you’ll partner and collaborate with business owners that are in complementary yet distinct industries. However, there are still benefits to networking and collaborating with businesses who might consider your competitors.
Here are three ways your company can benefit from collaborating with other companies:
1. Business referrals
This is perhaps the most obvious benefit to networking and collaborating. However, it is so important, and potentially valuable, that we have to mention it first. It is well-known that business referrals can be dramatically more profitable than clients that you develop “cold”. For small business owners and entrepreneurs in particular, building relationships with others who offer complimentary services can lead to a wealth of referrals. One example would be an accountant who sends and receives referrals with a solicitor. Both offer similar services to similar clientele, yet neither is at risk of stealing each others business.
2. Exchanging services
For small businesses in particular, many of the costs of running a business can be quite burdensome. Many of the costs, such as printing, advertising, legal fees, etc. that are easily absorbed by a large, highly-scaled corporation can be a significant cost to a small business especially one just starting up.
Whenever possible, exchanging your expertise for the expertise of another will tend to be beneficial for both parties. Using the accountant/lawyer example we used above, both can save on what would otherwise be an expensive cost by simply offering legal and accounting services, respectively.
3. Networking and future opportunities
You never know who is going to be a huge success in the future (it could be you!). However, we do know that entrepreneurs who have seen some success are significantly more likely than the general population to become even more successful in the future. Build those relationships now, so that you have a robust professional network in the future.