When faced with a David and Goliath battle between your small business and a larger or threatening business what should you do?

You could take the fight to them like we explained in our blog – How small businesses can compete against larger businesses.

Or you can get savvy and look at partnering up instead. After all – if you cant beat ’em, join em.

Why should you partner?

Ok so perhaps you have thought about partnering or perhaps you have no idea what it is, what it looks like and why you should do it? Let’s see some of the key reasons you should approach larger businesses and make friends not enemies…

Leverage a wide pool of expertise

Two heads are better than one and nobody knows it all.

Partnerships and professional bodies provide for a wider skill base, complementary experiences and business acumen. For example, as a business founder you may have the technical background to help deliver the right product for your market, while you may have zero clue how to get that to market!

Rest assured, there is someone out there in the opposite position. Find them. Find them and partner with them.

Very few individuals have all the skills and knowledge needed to run a business successfully. Teaming up with another will bring another set of skills, knowledge and experience.

Expand your customer base further and more rapidly

For a start, partnerships allow you to offer your customers more. You may have a product that you can sell directly to your customers, but do you have the resources and skills to take it through other channels?

Partnerships can help you reach a wider audience and offer your customers more convenient ways to access your goods or services.

Selling via a third party allows you to enhance your offering: whether it’s partnering with a retail outlet while you specialise in e-commerce, or teaming up with a business which offers gifting services during the Christmas season. The right partner can help you grow your business, while also allowing you to focus on your specialism and do what you do best.

Efficiency supercharge

If you’ve partnered with individuals who bring skills to your business, then you’ll also be much better placed enact better, more effective decisions and operate on highly elevated efficiency levels.

Your efficiency will be supercharged as tasks are split and workloads are are shared across many desks according to skills.

Partnership or professional relationships also bring different perspectives to a challenge and nearly always ensure that different points of view are considered. In turn, being able to look at problems from many angles will help you to arrive at a considered (and arguably more creative) solution – meaning you are efficient in creating ideas and deciding on courses of action (an overlooked type of efficiency).

But how? What are some examples?

Media and marketing

Marketing your business, when your target audience doesn’t know who you are or what you do is an arduous task and a strong marketing strategy will need to tackle this lack of awareness head on.

Partnering with other, more established businesses, will help you to position your company as one that is trusted and endorsed by experts in the field.

Plus, getting access to those potential customers when you don’t have a database of targets can be costly and ineffective. It’s far more effective to seek out opportunities where your partner can place you in front of their customers, via means such as email campaigns, webinars or joint PR. This trade of marketing assets can also help you to , for example if your partner tags you in a social media post.

Cross promotional opportunities

Do you know of a similarly oriented brand out there that suits your offerings or better yet compliments them?

These businesses should be scouted for cross-promotional partnering opportunities. Lets’s say you have a sunglasses company – why not split the costs and go to market with a cross promotion with a sunscreen company for summer?

Share ad space, marketing email campaigns, design costs, bus banners, social boosting – whatever it is you choose.

Similar to cross promotional material where two complimentary companies share a campaign, you can do a similar thing with discounts and special offers. drop prices when you purchase from both businesses, provide discount vouchers for each others businesses etc.

Who should you partner with?

When it comes to this – you really need to check your gut – but also do all the necessary research. You should be looking for:

  • Established, large brands with great market presence
  • A company of integrity and with a clean record
  • A business who’s values, aims and methods match with your own
  • A business with excellent branding who knows who they are

Things to keep in mind

  • Legal agreements
  • Clear separation of operations
  • Thorough business plan
  • Get professional business and legal advice before committing to a thing
  • Make sure your benefit is strong and perpetual