Partnerships with other online businesses can grow and improve your own business dramatically. This is especially true for areas where you don’t have adequate skills, resources or reach. Actually, for small businesses on a budget a partnership can be an incredible boost in visibility, reach and even sales (even with other small businesses)! The right partnership and the right project can go a long way in helping both of the businesses reach new audiences without breaking the bank.
Keep in mind that by partnering with someone else, you’re also allowing them to grow and improve too. The best partnerships benefit both parties!
There are countless ways to form a partnership nowadays. In this article, I’m going to focus on three tips that will help you establish the most amazing partnerships!
Choose a company your customers would love as much as you
Finding the right partner company doesn’t have to be hard. It boils down to picking a company that your audience would be excited about to hear from. You can also imagine the audiences of other companies you’d like to be introduced to.
The best way to start is to create a wishlist of brands you’d love to create a partnership with. Next to each company list a few ideas on the type of collaboration you can form. For example, as a content creator you could partner with a photographer for amazing photos, or with interview some whose work you admire such as Marie Forleo or Carrie Green.
That’s precisely what co-founders, Andrew Steinthal and Chris Stang of The Infatuation, a restaurant review site, did a few years back. “One of the first things we did was make a wish list of brands we love that would be dream partners,” Steinthal says.
Keep it organized but don’t limit yourself.
More ideas for forming a collaborations
Collaborations are so great for online businesses. You can partner with other freelancers, entrepreneurs, or business owners who provide complementary services or products. For example, as a web designer, I often collaborate with web developers, marketers or copywriters. A business coach could collaborate with a spiritual coach or advisor. A fashion blogger could collaborate with boutiques, writers or fashion designers or startups.
If we’re talking about products, not services, the idea is the same. The goal of the collaboration is to complement each other. The best example, and the silliest one too, might be milk and cereal companies! Another one is an apparel designer partnering with shoe or handbag designers. A mix of both product and services is a graphic designer partnering with a printer and.a store – online or brick and mortar – to print and sell their designs as notebooks, postcards, etc.
Complement each others’ gaps
The best partnerships complement each other’s needs or, in all honesty, shortcomings. Think of it as filling each other’s caps to make each other stronger and more appealing to consumers. Getting access to one another’s audiences is great, but your offer will be stronger if you’re going to supporting one another.
When two partners seem random, it can turn off many customers because it just doesn’t make sense. It’s obvious it was just a marketing stunt, and that’s not authentic at all.
For argument’s sake let’s say I cannot offer quality logos or web development. My best bet would be to collaborate and partner with amazing logo designers and programmer and maybe even package it as a three-way deal for our clients. It doesn’t make sense for me to partner with another web designer because our skills overlap and aren’t complementary at all.
Another example is a travel blogger who loves tropical places. They can partner with a travel blogger who loves colder climates on a joint content piece on the best things to do in Northern California or New Zealand all year round. You get the idea!
Know when to say no
Unfortunately, sometimes you might be approached or even start negotiating for a partnership with companies that aren’t the right partner for you after all. It’s okay, you must say no. Why? Because partnering with the wrong kind of company or brand can seriously backfire and hurt our reputation. Always think of this way, if a partnership agreement doesn’t benefit your audience nor your business it’s going to do nothing at least which is already a waste of time and effort. However, that’s at the very least.
Back in 2017, Selna Gomez faced serious backpack for working with and posting pictures alongside Woodly Allen, who has a long list of sexual assault allegation following him for decades now. This was especially brutal as she collaborated earlier with Netflix for 13 Reasons Why as an executive producer. A blacklist from a poorly formed collaboration may take many forms, and there is no reason to take a risk, primarily as a mislay business.
Parting ways from a horrible partner
If a potential partnership isn’t going to send the right message or, god forbid, someone else is trying to take advantage of you, your skills or your audience, decline. It’s better to walk away and restart your search than to endanger your reputation. But what happens when a partnership start out great but turns ugly, difficult or non-beneficial once it’s been started? You count your losses, cut the ties and move on.
There are steps you can take to ensure no one takes advantage of you, your business, skills or audience and that’s a well-detail contract agreement. Always set clear expectations, compensations, contributions, requirements and so on. Use contracts and break them if you must walk away from a partnership that isn’t delivering on their end of the deal.
A partnership can be such a great idea! Although that last point may have ended thing on a more stark note, it’s just there to protect you. After all, the whole point of a partnership is to help boost each other up!
If you’ve ever wanted to improve your reach or sales, there is no better time then now to start planning your partnership and collaborations! Get creative and start your wishlist of companies you’d love to work with right now!