When you’re a start-up, you often find yourself doing everything: you call the shots in the board room, you run the accounts, you’re the salesforce, the marketing team and you’re probably the one who empties the bins at the end of the day. That’s just the way it is when you’re launching your dream.
If you want to grow your business, you have to be realistic. You can’t do everything yourself – and that’s a good thing! Even the best all-rounders have their strengths, and it’s important to play to yours. As Richard Branson once said, “It’s OK not to know how to do everything. Bring people on board whose strengths play to your weaknesses.”
In this day and age, that doesn’t always mean taking on staff – you can now build really profitable partnerships with other businesses who can help you to grow. Linkilaws is a great example – they’ve built products that are specifically aimed at supporting ambitious start-ups and SMEs.
More than just the nuts and bolts
The thing about the business partnerships is that they don’t just help companies build strong foundations, they can also help to open new doors by offering that all important ‘added value’ to customers.
In their quest to provide that ‘little bit more’, Linkilaws realised that business owners and directors of SMEs simply didn’t have the time to search for other services that could help their businesses to thrive – such and brand positioning, digital services and marketing strategies.
Rather than reinventing the wheel – they decided to work with us – ifour – to develop additional packages and services around branding, marketing and digital support than can help start-ups and small businesses to grow. Here at ifour we work with many innovative start-up companies that require not only creative and strategy services but also finding the right support networks. In partnership with Linkilaw we now provide value to those starting up a business opportunity, by helping them access solid legal support too!
In an age when markets are moving so rapidly, partnerships are a great way for businesses to respond and keep pace, without losing focus on their core strengths. So, here are our top tips for developing great, long-lasting, mutually beneficial business partnerships.
Plan for growth
If you’re starting out – think about areas of your business that are taking you away from your core proposition or preventing you from playing to your strengths.
Plan for growth now – don’t wait until you are at breaking point. Think about where you want to focus your energies and start looking for others who can help with everything else.
Look at areas of your business that can be outsourced – HR, legal advice, marketing and accounts are often good starting places.
Consider your partners – outsourcing doesn’t mean relinquishing control, as long as you find a trusted partner who really understands your vision.
Choose your partners wisely
When you’re ready to grow – build time into your schedule to chat to your clients and find what other pressures or unmet needs they have. Then, think about businesses you can partner with to meet them.Don’t jump into bed wildly with just any old partner, though. Do your research, be clear about what you want and it could be the start of a beautiful relationship.
When choosing your partners consider the following and choose wisely.
1. Shared DNA – You’ve got to be on the same wave length, with the same ambition and concern for your customers.
2. Mutual benefit – You’ve got to recognise that your partners want to benefit as much as you do. If the relationship is biased, someone will get frustrated.
3. In it for the long haul – The best partnerships look to build and learn for the future – they’re not a flash in the pan.
4. Trust and transparency – Trust is the buzz word of the moment and you need to have open and honest communication throughout.
The beauty of partnership is that you can continue doing what you do best whilst your customers get added benefits. With shared risk and shared costs, what have you got to lose? And just remember, “fortune favours the brave”.