Collaboration: How Successful Small Business Owners Thrive

By Lisa N. Alexander | Small Business

Collaboration: How Successful Small Business Owners Thrive image collaboration 300x199Collaboration: How Successful Small Business Owners ThriveHave you ever seen a business collaboration go bad? I’ve witnessed a few and they can be really ugly.

It’s the story of the entrepreneur/business owner who has been burned by another business owner and has since vowed to work independently henceforth now and forever more. Amen.

It usually doesn’t turn out well for the business person who isolates themselves from their community and colleagues.

Start-ups and small businesses have collaborated for centuries and the practice is even more vital to the success and longevity of today’s small business.

Even large companies—competing companies come together and collaborate. Why you ask? Why take such a risk?

Everybody gets a piece of the pie

When you work with another company you can tackle more together. Everybody gets a piece of the pie. Increased revenue, exposure and experience are possible because you’ve packaged your product offerings together making them more appealing. This type of collaboration is very common when companies are bidding on contracts and can be very lucrative. It’s just one of the ways a collaborative effort can help grow your business.

I’ve seen other successful collaborative efforts among entrepreneurs. A Mary Kay and the Silpada business owner joined forces and created an event for an upcoming holiday that benefited both businesses.

My own business is even benefiting from a collaborative effort. I buy breakfast for a friend who teaches a class and I get to introduce my business to new people and generate leads. She gets a breakfast sponsor, I get leads. It’s a win for both of us.

Solve problems

Working with your competition to solve a problem is also called collective impact. Ben Hecht in his Collaboration is the new Competition post tells of rival universities and hospitals who came together to solve an issue plaguing their community. They pooled their resources in order to “reshape the economic future of the region and help those who have been hardest hit by the economic downturn.”

In Gill South’s article “Small Business: Rush is on for small firms to collaborate”, he writes about a new term in the gaming industry called co-opetition. Danushka (Danu) Abeysuriya, Rush Digital’s chief executive defines it as companies looking to other teams when they get stuck to “share business intelligence and analytics to solve the problem.”

When you make the decision to collaborate, just make sure you define the purpose, pick the right people and most important, write it all down so everyone is clear on the expectation. This is especially true if the collaboration will continue over a long period of time.

Successful business owners aren’t afraid to collaborate; they know it’s how business grow and thrive.

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