How ASBA Has Mastered the Art of Alliances to Help Small Businesses Win

by Ashley Vizzerra

Small businesses are increasingly realizing the benefits of working together.

Collaboration can help businesses grow in a number of ways: by combining and leveraging expertise, by tapping into an extended contact base and, in some cases, by sharing resources.

The key to all collaborations aims to support the success of all parties involved.

  • A lighting shop may connect with an electrician to run a joint advertising campaign, and share customers, resources and know-how.
  • A Web developer may connect with an accountant and create a special offer for the accountant’s customers. In turn, the accountant may create a reciprocal offer for the Web developer’s customers. Both businesses benefit by reaching a new audience, and their customers benefit from a special offer.
  • A large corporation and a small business develop a range of products and services together, and so improve the overall value to the customer.
  • Non-competing small businesses partner to share costs for activities such as trade shows and exhibitions, advertising and other marketing activity, to bring costs down and attract a larger audience.
  • A wedding photographer and florist have a similar customer base and may work together to produce a discounted package for soon-to-be-married couples. They have an opportunity to win more business, and the customer benefits from a coordinated package of services at a good price.

Initially, it’s a good idea to start with a project that doesn’t require too much commitment from either party. For example, you can offer one of your partner’s products to your customers — low risk but with the potential of positive results. This gives you the chance to get to know each other, understand how your businesses could work together and see how the relationship can develop.

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