Small Business Development Center
At Chemeketa Center for Business & Industry
chemeketa students

Collaboration Can Boost Your Business

By Chemeketa SBDC

The word “collaboration” is used a lot these days. But
what’s the practical application of that word and concept for a business owner?
Turns out there’s a lot contained there that can help you with your business.
There’s a synergy to working with others that can mean great things for you, and
success for your business. Tap into the power of others and watch what
happens.

A common way to build a collaborative partnership is
when a for-profit business (a pet store for instance) teams up with a nonprofit
(the humane society). They have some common goals, they have a common
constituency, and they can mutually benefit each other.

Another pathway to collaboration is when a group of
businesses in a given industry (retailers, manufacturers, service providers,
etc.) or a group of similar businesses (specialty food producers, health
services providers, artisans, etc.) work together. Perhaps they host an event,
perhaps it’s a group marketing campaign, or a series of meetings where they get
together to share best practices and common concerns.

There are several good reasons to enter into these
mutual arrangements. First is to promote your business to customers (with the
intention of driving sales). As a business owner, this is always on the top of
your mind, and a collaborative effort is another way for you to do achieve that
end. When you team up with other organizations you may gain access to their
customer lists, their ability to reach customers, their expertise, and many
other benefits.

Another good reason is to generate publicity for
yourself and your collaborative partners. The more awareness and name
recognition you can create, the better. Cross-promotion helps everyone.

There are a couple of things to consider before
entering into a collaborative effort with others.

• Consider carefully who you align yourself with in
order to ensure compatibility of mission. Ask yourself who you want to be
associated with.

• Be sure to plan everything out in advance and put it
in writing. The more time spent up front, the smoother things will go.

• Each partner’s responsibilities need to be spelled
out and agreed to.

• Reach a consensus on a common vision for what will be
accomplished and how each partner will benefit.

• Speak well of each other in public; dirty laundry
needs to be kept strictly out of sight. Keep a professional tone, both when
speaking with, and when speaking to, your collaborators.

Marcia Bagnall is Director of the Chemeketa Small
Business Development Center.

About Chemeketa SBDC

We provide the tools and environment for small business owners to make great decisions.

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