Collaboration is a great opportunity for all small businesses, regardless of the industry you’re in. Not only will collaboration help you to grow your network and increase revenue, but it can also save you money and teach you something valuable at the same time.
Some of the most successful collaborations are those that bring together different skill sets and strengths, and when this happens you’ll be surrounded by learning opportunities.
Here we’ve compiled some of the best collaboration ideas for your small business. If you haven’t already, why not make 2020 the year you give one of these a try?
1. Cross-promote on social media
Social media is a great way to raise awareness of your company and engage with customers and prospects. So how about teaming up with another small business to double your reach?
By getting together with another company and cross-promoting each others business and products, you’ll benefit from lots of new followers and (hopefully) customers who are interested in what your company offers.
You could even get together with a group of like-minded business owners to cross-promote one another’s work. There might be a group of ten of you who share each others Instagram stories and retweet one another on Twitter. The key is to connect with companies whose businesses complement your own so you reach people who are likely to be interested in what your company offers, rather than just the wider general public.
2. Run giveaways on social media
Speaking of collaborating on social media, why not team up to run a competition together too?
This is one of the easiest and most enjoyable collaborations you can do with other companies. Your product is the one asset you have in abundance, so make the most of it. Plus, the prizes can come from both businesses which reduces each company’s cost, and also makes the contest more attractive.
Usually it works like this, on Instagram for instance, you both post the competition on your grid and to enter people have to follow both companies and like and comment on each of the posts. It's simple! The winner is then selected at random. It’s an easy way to get more people following and engaging with you on social media. And once they’re there, if you keep posting interesting content, hopefully they’ll turn into customers.
3. Cross-promote in other ways
Your cross-promotion opportunities aren’t only reserved for social media. You could co-host a webinar or podcast series or write an eBook together. These efforts would demonstrate the expertise of both companies and bolster your credibility while broadening your reach.
You could also create joint promotional newsletters, or even create a joint advert for a newspaper or local magazine. Everyone loves a discount, so why not partner up for a special offer? Include a discount for your partner company on your email newsletter, or use your advert to promote free shipping when customers buy from both businesses.
4. Guest post on other websites or blogs
This has all the same benefits as featuring on others’ social media. Guest posting is a great opportunity to raise awareness of your brand and reach a broader audience. Hopefully, you’ll get new customers because of it.
Guest posting is also great for SEO as most blogs allowing guest posts will earn a backlink to your website, which will help you to be found in Google searches.
Of course, most collaboration opportunities are two-way. So be sure to invite others to guest post on your own blog. It’s also free content for your website.
5. Run an event together
For companies in the B2B space, this is a great opportunity. By teaming up to co-host an event and inviting existing customers from both your businesses, you each get a chance to meet new potential customers.
Of course, you’ll need to team up with a business with the right sort of customers, and one that isn’t in direct competition with you. For example, if you’re an electrical services firm, why not team up with a plumbing company to meet each other’s customers?
Who to collaborate with
To get the most from your collaboration opportunities, you need to choose the right partner. Look for companies you respect and who are effective with their own marketing efforts. Choose a partner with similar values and goals to you. And of course, look for companies that complement your own.
For example, if you’re a home and lifestyle store, why not team up with the coffee shop next door? If you’re an estate agent, how about connecting with the removals companies, financial advisors, and solicitors in your local area?
How to find them
Reach out to your local network and the businesses in your area to find potential partners to collaborate with. Networking events can be a great opportunity to meet like-minded business owners in person. Even if it comes to nothing at first, it will help you to make connections with people you could collaborate with in the future. You’ll also get the chance to bounce ideas off other people and be inspired.
Collaborating with other companies can be a valuable marketing tool if you’re looking to grow your small business. It’s a short-cut to reaching a larger audience and gaining more customers, plus you may learn something and gain more credibility at the same time.
Collaboration is all about building relationships. At the Chamber, we believe that businesses are better together and everything we do is aimed at helping you to connect with like-minded business owners in your local area. Take a look at our upcoming networking events in the Bedfordshire area, and find out how becoming a member of the Chamber can help you to build relationships with other businesses.