You need many people and organizations to create and maintain any business, from the janitor who cleans your building to the celebrity who endorses your brands. This concept translates to relationships with other businesses. There are other businesses in your area that may be able to help support you while you support them. This not only helps you have a resource for conducting your own business in a more efficient manner, but it can also help you tap into an entirely new customer base.
Find Potential Partners
A short drive around your area with a pen and paper can accomplish this. Take note of the businesses’ phone numbers, names, and what kinds of products and services that they offer. Don’t leave any businesses off of the list just because you may not see the possible relationship with them on first sight.
Narrow the List
After you have a general idea of who you have around you doing business, pick out the more obvious connections. For instance, it may be that a company offering conference and party space might want to work together with a janitorial service or an event security firm.
What Can They Offer?
Consider all the tasks that have to be completed in order for your business to run efficiently on a daily basis. For example, a caterer might need things like cooks, groceries, and servers. These basic needs could cover a wide range of business types, including butchers, farmers, and clothes manufacturers. When you’ve identified your business’ needs, you can pinpoint which companies around you may be able to fulfill those needs. The culinary arts school down the road could give you cooking apprentices, or the printer across the street could offer stationary for cheap or free.
What Can You Offer?
What sorts of free or discounted products or services would you be willing to trade with these other companies for their help with supporting your business? Maybe you could offer free teeth cleaning to the marketing business next door in exchange for advice about the current state of your social media profiles. Don’t be hesitant to give services and products to people for free, especially as a new business. This is a great way to gain reviews on your social media websites and garner word-of-mouth advertising for your business.
Once you have an idea of what the symbiotic relationships with businesses in your vicinity have the potential to look like, reach out to these enterprises by setting up an appointment with them to discuss the details. It may be wise to also set some limits on the number of free items or hours of free service you offer so that you don’t end up overextending your business and your budget.
Honor the Commitment
Make sure that you always hold up your end of the bargain in these relationships. Your perceived level of respect, reliability, and commitment with your partner businesses is second only to your customers’ perceptions of you.
Tell the World
If consumers already like an older, more established company in the neighborhood, they’re more likely to feel comfortable with becoming one of your regular customers as well if you are closely connected to a brand that they already know and trust. Having another business on your customer list also means that that business can refer new clients to you. For instance, if the day care across the street from you loves your cleaning services, they are likely to recommend those services to their parents, for domestic or commercial cleaning projects.
As you spend more time supporting one another, your businesses are likely to become more and more connected. This can mean you end up working on large projects together for the sake of the neighborhood, city, or even state. Showing this level of teamwork means your businesses are perceived as amiable entities trying to do good for the sake of the community, as opposed to aggressive businesses simply attempting to get money out of the local citizens. When you build a trustworthy reputation in the community, you create loyal customers that will help your business grow.