You’ve likely heard the term “collaboration over competition” before. Collaboration promotes meaningful relationships, creativity, and support from other business owners just like you; whereas competition is often coupled with fear – fear that someone is going to copy you, or that there isn’t enough room for everyone.
In this blog, we’re going to unpack why collaboration can be such a powerful tool for your business, so read on to learn more!
How collaboration can benefit your business
Collaboration can be extremely valuable in growing your business. Aside from the obvious benefits such as finding new customers or followers, and making sales, collaboration is also a fantastic opportunity for learning. You’re bringing two people together who have different skill sets and perspectives, and each interaction can be helpful in some way. Often, entrepreneurs are so busy focussing on what they’re doing, they can become short sighted and miss opportunities, or they simply don’t give themselves the time to step back and really evaluate their plans and strategies. The relationships built during collaborations go beyond just the project itself, and allow you to share ideas, new techniques, and tools that can help you grow your business, both now and in the future.
Where to find collaboration opportunities
There are a number of places you can look when trying to source new collaboration opportunities.
- Connecting with local business owners. Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know, so your local area can be a great place to start sourcing collaborations. Reach out to local business owners through social media, local business groups, or by attending networking events and workshops.
- Join industry groups. If you’re looking to expand your business into new areas, joining groups from other regions can really help to get your foot in the door. Sign up to industry related events, meetups, or Facebook groups.
- Ask your friends and family. Your friends or family likely already know some great businesses that you could connect with. Let them know what you’re looking for, and see if they can recommend anyone.
What you should consider when it comes to forming a collaboration
There are a number of things that you need to take into account before jumping into a collaboration, because at the end of the day, it needs to make sense to your business!
- Choose a business who has a similar sized social media following. Depending on your collaboration goals, you may wish to consider social media following when choosing who you work with. A collaboration gives you access to a whole new audience online, so working with someone who has an active and engaged following is going to help you in the long run.
- Choose a business who shares the same target audience as you. While the business you work with doesn’t have to be from the same industry or category as you, you should share a target audience. For example, a makeup artist may collaborate with a hairdresser, beauty salon, or skin care and laser clinic, opening them up to a pool of new, potential customers who are likely to be interested in their services.
- Ensure the collaboration is mutually beneficial. In order for a collaboration to be successful, it must have a target outcome that benefits both parties. Going into a collaboration with a “me” instead of “we” mentality won’t get you far. So, think about how you can help the other business before you consider how it can help you, too.
- Be clear about what you’re looking for, and consider your goals. Do you hope to increase your social media following, get more traffic to your website, make more sales, increase your mailing list, or create a new product or service entirely? The business you choose to pair with in a collaboration will be dependent on your goals.
- Get it in writing. In order to ensure both parties are clear on the outcome and expectations of a collaboration, you must get it in writing. While you don’t need a legal document to do so, you may wish to create a simple, one page document which outlines what you are doing, and the roles of each business in the project, to be signed by both parties.
Some collaboration ideas to get you started
There are a number of ways you could approach a collaboration (with some more involved and advanced than others), but here’s just a few ideas to help get your creative juices flowing.
- Cross promote each other on social media or in your email newsletter
- Run a giveaway on social media
- Co-host a webinar or workshop, or co-write an ebook
- Create a discount code for each others’ audiences
- Guest write on a website blog
- Run an event together
- Co-design a special, limited edition product or service
- Do a “social media takeover” on each other’s pages
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