When it comes to starting a company, the last thing you really think about is working with other businesses. Of course, there are a few basic pointers to keep in mind such as choosing which supplier to get your materials and supplies from and what logistics service to use when delivering your goods, but the concept of working together with businesses won’t really occur to you early on.
This is mainly because you’ll see everyone as a competitor even if they’re not directly related to your industry. For instance, if you set up a store that sells cakes, then you might see other stores as competition because you’re fighting over the same foot traffic.
However, the reality is that you can use other businesses to promote your own store, and the same works in reverse as well. Instead of seeing every other business around you as a competitor, it’s actually a good idea to partner up with local businesses in order to grow your own brand. If you want to take the next step in growing your store, then here are a couple of reasons why you should always team up with local businesses and forge good working relationships.
- You can refer customers to each other
Let’s say that a customer walks into your store and requests an item that you don’t stock. However, you know that the business next door has it, so what do you do? People would usually just stay quiet, but being able to foster a community in your local area actually has a powerful impact and the friendship you build will go a long way.
If you start sending customers to other businesses, then other businesses will take notice and do the same for you out of mutual respect. This is especially true if you’re in separate industries because you’re not directly competing. However, even if you are competing, it might sometimes be better to send a customer to a different store if they require something specific that you personally don’t specialize in.
- You can set up joint marketing campaigns
This is especially useful if you’re able to connect with local businesses that are perhaps a little further away or on the other side of a larger area of foot traffic. Being able to partner up with other businesses means that you can effectively extend your marketing reach. For instance, your business partners might be more willing to place advertisements and messages for you in their area or store, or you can work together to collaborate on a service or product.
A good example of this is between food suppliers and restaurants. If you own a butcher’s or a supermarket that regularly supplies items to a local restaurant, then you can advertise for each other in order to grow your audience.
- You’ll create a trusted chain of supply
Another big advantage of partnering with local businesses is being able to create a trusted chain of supply. This essentially means that you’ll be able to constantly supply another business with a service or product that they need on a regular basis. You’ll usually provide them with a better deal than usual, but it means that you’ll have a repeat customer that will always be willing to do business with you. For instance, a construction company would likely connect with a timber supplier such as George Hill Timber. To encourage local business, they offer extras such as free local delivery which means that, to a construction company, they’re a better value proposition than a much larger and well-known nationwide timber supplier.
This works with services and not just products. For instance, if you’re a local computer repair store, then making friends with other local businesses and partnering with them means that you’ll be first on their list when one of their tech-related devices breaks. By being able to offer a convenient, local and reliable service to other local companies and stores, you become an essential part of their business model.
Fostering a good relationship with other local businesses is a fantastic way to grow your company. Going with the cheapest option all the time isn’t always the most effective way to grow a business and it’s wise to work on building a network of clients and contacts to prepare for future business growth. Failing to do this will isolate you from surrounding businesses and make it much harder for you to get anywhere in the industry.
*This is a contributed post