Strategic Partnerships to Increase Small Business Growth

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Creating an alliance or strategic partnership with another business can have a tremendous impact on growth for both companies. It can be especially beneficial and cost-saving for a small business. The right partnerships will help your business gain a competitive advantage and give your business exposure to a new pool of consumers. The best partnerships can leverage the trust and brand reputation associated with one business and help the other navigate through difficult situations.

As a small business, you can reap the benefits of a partnership. To determine the best avenue for your business growth, consider the following partnerships. Choosing the right partners can have a huge impact on your business exposure, and increase your revenue and overall growth.

1. Distribution Partnership

A distribution partnership is a complementary relationship, where one experience is improved with the other, and drives sales for both companies. Partnering with a distributor that already has an established audience can also promote your business for you. Distributors can get smaller counterparts access to customers they might not otherwise be able to reach themselves or provide broader exposure through cooperative marketing events.

Distributors do the heavy lifting for you to increase your sales. They already have an in-tune audience. Your company will bring in more sales, customers, and profits from their hard work. It’s a win-win solution for both.

Try to find major influencers within your niche. Find a partnership with an influencer to distribute your product or service to their existing audience. The key is to find solutions that create something of value and benefit both parties.

2. Promotional Partnership

Promotional partners are other businesses that can help promote what you sell. They send potential customers to your website to sign up and hopefully buy. Partner with businesses that can help you reach a larger audience. It’s expensive to try to advertise, promote, and sell your products or services on your own. Teaming up with another business or businesses is relatively simple and the end result is highly profitable moving forward. Moreover, if you find the right partnership you will be able to focus your spending elsewhere.

Find a local business with a similar audience you could target and create a promotion to offer their customers to drive traffic to your store. This is best accomplished with businesses that offer complementary services. It provides a source of referrals from partner businesses. Exposure is imperative for your business, but ensure that your partner is aligned with your business values and mission. A partner that can help convey your values and brand differentiators to the right audience is critical in making sure you’re not only getting exposure, but the right exposure.

3. Competency Gap Partnership

Instead of trying to do everything on your own, as a small business, you should instead form strategic partnerships for any gaps in competency. Not every business owner will know how to drive sales, market their business, or manufacture their products. Trying to do everything yourself, especially when you don’t have the know-how can cost your business a tremendous amount of time and money. 

Outsourcing tasks that your business doesn’t know how to do or cannot do efficiently will save you money in the long-run. Moreover, your business will be strengthened when your weakest area is covered by an expert. By covering competency gaps through establishing partnerships, your business will have the resources to spend time advancing other areas and will not be slowed down in expansion and growth. Having a partnership for a gap in competency also creates a stronger brand and impression on customers. You are also sending competitors the message that this gap in competency is not hindering your business in any way. Your business will be enabled to grow through this partnership and remain competitive in the marketplace.

4. Cause Partnership

Customers love to see businesses embrace social responsibility by giving back to their local communities. It is important to find a social cause that can engage your target audience. The nonprofit organization does not have to relate to your business’s day-to-day activities, but should align with your brand and values. Partnering with a local organization or nonprofit that fits with your core values can increase your exposure and have tremendous impact on your business growth. Additionally, your business will be associated with promoting this social cause and will stand out from competitors.

An example of cause marketing is when you’re shopping at PetSmart and asked if you would like to donate a dollar or a few dollars to help homeless pets. Or certain products, such as TOMS, are well-known for their One for One model. Every time a customer purchases a TOMS product, a person in need is helped. TOMS helps provide shoes, sight, water, safe birth and bullying prevention services to people in need.

Your business can partner up with a nonprofit organization or cause and work with them consistently or your business can show support for certain events, such as sponsoring a charity event. Or your business can give a percentage of every sale to a local nonprofit. Your partnership with the organization should be mutually beneficial. Nonprofit organizations have a lot to offer to for-profit businesses. They can help boost company sales, visibility, and employee productivity.

A business and a nonprofit partnership will likely see a boost in visibility and brand recognition through social media engagement and better “word of mouth” reputation. This increased brand recognition can help the business attract new customers and can also increase donations and volunteer engagement with the organization. The results of partnering with nonprofits and cause partnerships can be hard to measure through traditional marketing metrics, but they are well worth the expense.

Final Thoughts

In your small business, you don’t have to try to do everything yourself. Creating the right partnerships for your business can help accelerate your growth, reduce costs, increase sales, and help you reach a new audience. Aligning your business with partners can give your business competitive advantages while also adding credibility to your business and brand.

Generally, in creating a partnership, look for a partner that is reliable and stable, has similar values, and has a similar business trajectory. The long-term success of your partnership is contingent upon the compatibility between the two partners and ensuring that both parties are benefiting.

Ivi Kim is a content writer, marketer, and blogger. Ivi graduated with a Juris Doctor from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She has written content for websites and blogs, while increasing their SEO scores. Ivi’s passion for writing is rooted in her desire to facilitate the flow of information from businesses to consumers in a way that is beneficial and engaging.

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