Supporting local small businesses isn’t just up to customers. While Small Business Saturday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all great opportunities for local businesses and customers to come together to support the community, small business owners can take matters into their own hands by partnering with other local business owners to promote their mutual success .
Below, we’ve compiled a list of five resourceful ways small business owners can collaborate this season to increase revenue, engage with the local community, and reach new customers.
Collaborating on events, marketing strategies, networking opportunities, or even sharing space are all great ways for local businesses to go from neighbors to allies. Creating business partnerships can also help increase revenue, increase brand awareness and enable businesses to continue to serve both loyal and new customer bases.
1. Develop a strategic partnership
A strategic partnership is a relationship between two companies with similar products/services that come together for a mutually beneficial outcome. In this case, two small businesses will come together to promote each other to potentially increase sales and expand their audience.
Joint marketing efforts
Using a strategic partnership to create a joint marketing campaign to promote a co-branded product/service that both companies can promote is a great way to increase brand exposure as well as open up your business to your strategic partner’s audience.
For example, a local coffee shop and bookstore might create specialty drinks inspired by famous literary characters and introduce a promotion that gives customers a discount at the bookstore if they come in with one of the specialty drinks. This will hopefully increase sales for both businesses while also creating a unique opportunity for a fun marketing campaign.
Using social media for a strategic partnership is a great way to tap into new markets, stay on top of trends and receive real-time customer feedback.
- Repost stories and feed posts to show support.
- Advertise products from your business partner on social accounts. Let them do the same.
- Conduct a social media takeover, where both businesses switch social accounts for the day.
- Create a giveaway or contest on social media where customers must like and follow both accounts to enter.
Use your current corporate newsletters and email campaigns as a way to cross-promote and showcase your strategic business partner.
- Advertise your co-branded product.
- Share links to social media accounts and websites.
- Launch a discount in your company newsletter/email exclusively for subscribers.
- Use advertising space in your company’s newsletter/email to promote the products of your strategic partner and vice versa.
2. Network with other local businesses
As a small business owner, it is super important to find time to network with other local businesses. Networking is a great way to generate new leads. Something as simple as attending a local small business mixer can create a new partnership that improves your business!
Attend a conference
- Meet like-minded business owners and share ideas.
- Find a company you want to create a strategic partnership with.
- Conferences can give your company a wealth of knowledge in your industry.
Join a local organization
- Join industry-specific organizations
- A small business association
- The local chamber of commerce
- Local non-profit organizations
- It can give your company access to local resources
- These groups can offer development opportunities
- Meet and connect with like-minded small business owners in your community
3. Collaborative arrangements
Collaborating with multiple businesses around shared themes and industries can be a great opportunity for cross-promotion, brand awareness and potentially reaching a new audience.
Get together with similar businesses to host an event. For example, a hair salon, jewelry store, and wedding dress store can team up to host a community bridal event.
Host a pop-up
Pop-up events invite unique, special and exclusive opportunities for companies to create buzz around their products/services.
- Start a recurring pop-up – once a month.
- Host a joint Christmas pop-up event with tons of local businesses participating.
- Partner with local businesses to give customers a unique and fun experience.
- A bakery and a dog shop can create a puppy bakery pop-up
- A store may have a pop-up with local designers to sell one-off items
Host a Meet and Greet
- Set up a table where everyone can display their wares.
- Let every business bring information security to share.
- Easy way to break the ice with other local small business owners.
- Team up with nearby businesses in similar fields to expand your customer base.
- Give goodie bags to guests that include free samples and coupons for your goods/services.
4. Create an incubator
A business incubator is a program for businesses designed to help with workplace, financing, mentoring and training. Create a membership club where local businesses can come together, brainstorm ideas and bounce strategies off each other.
- Use this group to find other local shops your company would like to organize an event with or create a partnership with.
- Provides a place for local businesses to come together to support each other through educational opportunities and community initiatives.
5. Share space
Sharing space with other small businesses can be a great way to save money, as well as working with similar local businesses to create long-lasting partnerships.
- Rent space in a larger company.
- Bars can rent out space during the day before opening for coffee shops or bakeries etc.
- Can help both businesses enter new markets.
- Team up with other businesses to get a space together to share.
Funding your business partnership
Investing in small business financing solutions to fund your business partnerships is an excellent way to help start a fruitful relationship.
Line of credit
A small business line of credit allows businesses to borrow a fixed amount that they can draw on when needed, while only paying interest or fees on the amount they use. This type of revolving credit can be a valuable tool for small businesses to help expand their partnerships.
Selling cash advances
A merchant cash advance is a short-term business financing option that gives small businesses access to funds in exchange for a percentage of their future credit/debit card receivables. This allows the payment timeline to be tailored to the flow of business sales.
Business credit card
Business credit cards are another tool to consider when looking to finance a business partnership. Business credit cards can help provide short-term funding to get the partnership off the ground by funding marketing campaigns or events.
Partnering with local small businesses can help deepen the connection both businesses have with their communities and gain emotional and professional support.
It is up to your business and your strategic partner to decide how the partnership will grow. Following some of these tips can help you create a strong and long-lasting partnership.