Size matters. Yet the majority business owners have an ineffective strategy for getting big. Approaching a growth strategy on your own, without leveraging through large organisations, is one of the quickest ways to ensure you remain small.
Strategic relationships accelerate growth. Fast. Facebook and Skype have been rumored to be setting up an alliance which will see the two companies hook up with Skype’s phone and video capabilities, integrated into our Facebook pages. A deal such as this sees Facebook gaining new capabilities without having to build them, and sees Skype leveraging massively through Facebook’s 500 million person distribution.
The fact is, you don’t have to be the next Facebook or Skype to start leveraging through mass distribution channels. In my most recent project we were leveraging off some of the biggest brands in the country before the company had seen its first birthday, giving us access to 200,000 potential clients when we had a marketing budget of $0. Imagine the difference that can make to the bottom line of a small business.
- Ensure you have a brand that people want to work with. This means you need to both look and act the part.
- Identify three companies that are complementary to yours. This might be the company customers go to before they come to you, the company they visit after they’ve come to you, or another business that has the same target market, but a different offering to yours. All these businesses are Joint Venture Targets (JVTs) and the bigger they are, the better.
- Work out the structure of the joint venture Do you want them to send an email to their clients talking about the great things you do? Could they offer a product sample of yours, when they sell their products? Could they offer a gift certificate to their clients from you? Could they feature your company as a value-add on their website?
- Make them an offer they can’t refuse. This might be a revenue split on any sales they generate for you. Because they are sales you wouldn’t have otherwise had, you can afford to be generous here. 80% of something is better than 100% of nothing. Can you reciprocate what they have done for you, offering your clients something from them? Or could your giveaway to their client base be that good, that they just have to pass it on to their clients because it makes them look good?
The main thing to keep in mind when approaching companies to partner with, is to ensure you are approaching the conversation from a standpoint of what you can give. You have to genuinely have the JVT’s best interests front of mind.
Master this marketing technique and you will have more demand on your business than you can handle, which will force you to grow. As I once laughingly read on the side of a protein shake, “life’s too short to be small.”