Local Business Cooperation – Working Toward a Common Goal
Does the idea of a group project bring you anxiety? You know…the stress of working hurriedly towards a common goal, all the while feeling like you might be better off working alone? No? Just me?
Well, in the world of starting and supporting your own business, collaborating with others can be vital to surviving amongst the sea of big-box retailers. Whether you have a virtual storefront, or your business thrives on foot traffic, this guide can ease any apprehension by explaining the importance of working together with other small businesses. After all, teamwork really does make the dream work.
Like A Good Neighbor, Your Business Is There (Supporting Local Business)
Expanding Your Network
One of the more significant obstacles small businesses must overcome to be successful is right there in the name: small. Entrepreneurs consistently rely on their day-to-day contacts, whether new or familiar, for network expansion. If new connections are not formed, then your business is less likely to thrive. Partnering with another small business, even one with a similar business model, can markedly expand your network to potential customers you could not previously access.
Let it be Educational
Here again, teamwork can effectively make your dream work. Teaming up with other entrepreneurs and professionals, especially those with different strengths and skillsets, can offer new techniques on how to effectively run your business. Being open to these learning opportunities can improve your business structure and possibly increase revenue. Be ready to learn from other’s mistakes and successes.
As a small business owner with an established daily routine, creating and implementing new methods of doing business, or new marketing ideas, can easily become lost among the technicalities. Who feels inspired to alter their marketing strategy after a day of crunching numbers or anxiously awaiting a new product order? Partnering with local entrepreneurs provides the opportunity for new and fresh perspectives that can be harnessed for innovation. Whether it be altering in-store product placement or refining your online marketing strategy, these small business owners can provide constructive criticism or even enhance your ideas. This partnership with other like-minded professionals is mutually beneficial in maintaining that ever-important creative flow.
Overall, the mutualistic relationship formed when you team up with one or more local small businesses can grow these businesses to exponential heights.
Break Me Off A Piece of That Local Business Deal (Offer Packaged Deals)
It’s no secret that customers love a great deal. Now imagine the allure of a discounted package deal (bingo!). It’s Friday night in Texas which can only mean one thing: high school football. You race around town looking for that perfect shirt when you notice a large easel with “25% off game day attire!” Ok, you’re interested…but wait! Purchasing any game day attire item gets you a bin of team-colored popcorn at half-price from Mom & Pop’s Popcorn Shop next door. And 20% off your meal at the local café. The list of discounts can continue depending on the number of participating businesses. Get involved with other businesses to offer group-business deals.
When reviewing revenue data, make note of the top-selling product, or even the top three selling products over the past 30 days, 6 months, and 1 year. If the best-selling products from these time frames vary, the trend should be evaluated for determining future product trends. Selecting products for packaged deals is important for not only enticing new customers but to have them return again in the future.
Just as important as selecting the product is finding the right local business to team up with. Do you want to expand your clientele beyond your normal customer base? Or do you want to continue to serve your ideal customer? Once you decide which population to market, you can pinpoint the local businesses you would like to partner with and with whom you can collaborate.
Snap! Collaborate! Pop! (Distinguishing Participating Retailers)
You and the other business owners have tested several package deals and determined the one that benefits all participating shops the most. Now, how to spread the word? Creating a distinct image, such as a special-colored ribbon or designing a unique seal, to affiliate participating businesses is a great place to start. Similar to the idea of rating restaurants with Michelin stars, or awarding Olympic athletes with medals, this image should be memorable and easily associated with this branding.
Branding can also improve your offerings-base as more and more businesses will want to become part of the “team with the theme” to highlight their own items and improve sales.
For additional resources on cooperating with local businesses, or other tips for growing your small business, please contact us at the Small Business Development Center – SBDC – serving the Paris area: Lamar, Hunt, Hopkins, Delta, and Red River counties.