How to Grow Your Business with Strategic Relationships May 09 2017

No man is an island, and neither is any business. When we start out in our business, chances are we’re doing every job - from janitor to customer service rep to CEO. That’s a great start so that you can get a good idea of what it actually takes to run your business in every department, but eventually, you will build your business to the point that it has steady cash flow, and realize that you don’t own the business - it owns you. This is when having strategic relationships becomes vital for the survival and growth of the business.

So why partner up with anyone? There are three main reasons that I tell my clients who are at this point: to create leverage, to grow, and to get your time back. As the business owner, you want to be freed up to spend time on brainstorming and strategizing to grow your business even more. You don’t want to be bogged down by the daily minutiae required just to keep the business afloat.

When you get to this point, here’s a great exercise to generate beneficial partnerships with ease:

  • Keep it simple by thinking of your own business and think “who else is going after my clients?”
    • If you’re drawing a blank, call your clients and ask them what vendors they use for things like internet service, bookkeeping, marketing, etc.
  • Write those down as people/businesses to connect with.
  • Ask your current client if they will do an email introduction with the people/vendors they’ve recommended. This opens the door to having a conversation with them as a possible partner.
  • Add these new contacts via SM (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) and go to their website to learn more about them. This will help you narrow down to prospects that are the best fit for you.
  • Send the best prospects an email to introduce yourself and ask if they’d be interested in a coffee meeting to discuss a possible partnership.
  • Before that meeting, create a list of open-ended questions based on info you know or want to know about them. Here’s a few example questions:
    • Do you have a partnership with anyone who does what I do?
    • What struggles do you find common with your clients/customers?
    • What needs or gaps do your services/products fill for them?
    • Can you think of anyone off the top of your head that I would be able to help? Why or why not?

As you’re going through this process, remember that you are looking for a relationship that fits like a glove. You’re not looking for a competitor, but someone who compliments your goal/market. Be interested in long term growth over short term results with these relationships - the right partnership could equal millions of dollars in sales for both parties!