Trends in business come and go, but increasingly I’m seeing an exciting, strategic approach that can accelerate growth—when done well.
Find Your Niche, Find Your Partners
In the past, many business owners aimed to build large, full-service companies but today more and more are taking a smaller, specialized approach. They figure out what their niche in the market is — and find strategic partners to work with, share resources, and tag-team for income growth.
Their partners are specialists too — good at what they do and able to seamlessly integrate their functions. A marketing company, for instance, might work with a public relations company when their client needs some PR, or with a web designer when their client needs web design. These are examples of strategic partnerships between specialized, well-suited partners.
Working together in a strategic alliance is a win-win opportunity. It allows you to keep your overhead and management costs low and to focus on what you do best. Combining services with other small agencies can open the doors to increased profits, exposure to new clients, and a strong reputation.
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Tag-teaming is also a terrific strategy to slingshot your business forward. If you’re responsible for finding every client you have, that can be a big drain on your time and resources—but if you’re in an alliance of five businesses, you’ve got four other people out looking for work that could end up in your business pipeline.
How Do You Find The Right Partner?
The first step is to identify the gaps in your own company’s arsenal and then figure out the best partner to bridge those gaps.
Finding the right partner is the key to making this approach work. You don’t want to just hire a friend or a guy you’ve met before. Don’t hurry to fill a gap with the first person you find online. You want to make sure your partner can help you provide even greater service to your clients so it’s important to find a company that’s a good fit.
Sometimes you do already know the right partner: you’ve worked with them, know their business and know that they will deliver exactly what your client needs. Other times, you can make use of LinkedIn or trade associations. However you find your partners, make sure that you’re able to accurately assess the quality of any potential partner’s work.
Is Being A Lone Ranger Okay Sometimes?
Working in a strategic alliance doesn’t work in all industries. There are still traditional growth industries where successful growth involves offering a full range of services. In those fields, it’s actually important to expand horizontally, to offer a full breadth of services or products in-house. One industry that you would think would lend itself to collaboration is technology – but in my experience, companies in the technology industry often feel they have to do everything. This might be because clients shopping for technology don’t always have a great grasp of what they really want, so having a wide area of expertise right on staff is valuable.
For the most part, though, the idea of being a full service company is being replaced by specialization and collaboration. Figuring out the gaps in your company and finding strategic alliances who will work with you will help you grow your business by establishing a healthy network of clients and partners.