How to Partner with Other Small Businesses for Projects and Initiatives
As your business grows, you may be surprised at how much you are able to accomplish.
This is especially true once your business has grown to the point that you’re starting to consider larger projects and initiatives that would have once seemed beyond your scope. Unfortunately, you might sometimes find that these new projects are still a little beyond what you can easily do alone.
Sometimes the problem that you face with larger projects is a cost issue, or having enough workers to pull it off without hindering your day-to-day operations in the process. Regardless of your limitation, though, the answer to getting things done may be to bring in a partner to help with the project.
While this may sound daunting at first, with a bit of planning it isn’t that difficult to bring another small business on board to help.
Determine the Scope of the Project
The first thing that you need to do is figure out exactly what is involved in your project or initiative.
Determine how much time would be required to complete the project, how much labor and materials are needed and whether any specific licenses or certifications are required just to work on the project. Be as specific as possible, and double check any estimates to make sure that they’re as close to a real figure as you can get them.
You should also ask yourself questions about the project that you’re hoping to find a partner for. Where will the money for the project come from, and are there any major benefits to completing it? How will the project benefit any potential partners that you bring on?
The more information you can gather and the more questions you can answer, the more likely potential partners will be to sign on with you.
Identify Potential Partners
Look within your niche to find other small businesses that operate in the same industry and have goals similar to yours.
These are the businesses that are most likely to benefit from your project, so they’re the ones that you should reach out to. Analyze each potential business to see how good of a match they are for the project you have in mind, since you’ll want to start with the best match first.
After all, few businesses are going to sign on for a project that doesn’t provide much of a benefit to them.
Open a Dialog and Make a Pitch
Get in touch with the owner of the other small business, scheduling an appointment to talk about your project if possible.
Time is often of the essence when it comes to getting large projects off the ground, so you should schedule your meeting in the first time slot that the both of you will be free. If you have at least some history with the business owner then it will work in your favor, but don’t be afraid to meet with a small business owner that you’ve never dealt with before.
Once you’ve got a meeting, work on your pitch. You’ll have only a little bit of time to present your project idea, show the data that you’ve worked up and convince the business owner that it will benefit their business as well as yours.
The key points to your pitch need to be your presentation and selling the benefit to the other business; though the data is important, the other business owner can review it later if they show an interest based on your other points.
Don’t try to jump in to a large project that you can’t possibly complete alone and then try to find a partner after the fact.
Begin building strategic partnerships in your community (or even outside of your community) with smaller projects first. This not only gives you experience working with other businesses prior to undertaking major projects, but can also give you a history of successful partnerships that you can reference when making your pitch to future partners.
Develop Long-Term Relationships
While you will likely only partner with other businesses for specific projects and initiatives, you still have the potential to develop long-term business relationships with your partners.
If you had a particularly successful partnership with another business in your community, they’re likely going to be your first candidate the next time you have a need for a partner. By maintaining these relationships you’ll take a lot of the stress out of finding partners in the future since you’ll already have businesses that know how well you work together.