4 Ways To Build Partnerships
Partnerships help you to grow your business – it’s as simple as that. Partnerships are an officially formed agreement, often a quid pro quo, for example, you offer free access to your product for a group’s members and hopefully, their members will sign up. Partnerships are great ways to build up traction, gauge feedback and in the long term develop sales and marketing. That being said – your partnership programme shouldn’t be a crutch or an excuse not to build successful marketing or sales organisations; these are far more important in the long term. Partnerships are a boost or a kickstart for when time and resources are short or you want to tap into a new or exciting demographic.
If you’re an early stage company and you’ve just developed your MVP, you need as many eyes on it as possible to iron out the creases. Partnerships are perfect to help build a positive reputation and to demonstrate traction; they’re something we know work and are constantly looking to secure for Recommendable.
Often a partnership can connect your product with multiple businesses (hundreds or even thousands) and only take a couple of days or a few conversations to put together. Then very quickly you’ll have users, clients or customers that you can develop individual relationships with (this is where the sales organisations come in) which are vital to building your company further. In terms of traction, an early boost can help you get to that network effect or critical mass early and at the very least demonstrate a product-market fit for potential investors.
What is the best type of partnership for you?
Partnerships come in many forms and there are many opportunities to look for here. Some might be better for your business at your stage than others, but all can help to boost your growth.
(1) Membership Organisations: These types of partnerships are often the best way to build up a large quantity of connections. If these organisations work with a lot of partners to add extra value to their members, then it might be hard to cut through the noise and show off your product’s strengths. Its not impossible to stand out from the crowd, however, the real value here is if you need a lot of eyes on your product, these can be perfect.
(2) Businesses: There is an economic term for products which sell well together – ‘complimentary goods’ – strawberries and cream, hammer and nails etc. This is likely the same for your business too, marketing software compliment graphic designers, interior designers and architects, builders and plumbers etc. These can be some of the best partnerships as people often need your product and a clear demonstration of the value you can add can be all you need to gain huge traction.
(3) Newsletter: These are obviously great for numbers of people seeing your business or your name. Agreeing to reciprocal newsletter features or mentions can build up your reputation and show your off to the platform’s clients. A newsletter feature shows your business in a positive light and if your business is exciting or useful, the editor of the newsletter will likely be thrilled to feature you. We regularly do this at Recommendable with our ‘Business In The Spotlight’ feature.
(4) Mailing list: The results from these are very similar to the newsletter partnerships but they may be with publications based in your space. Mailing list publications can also expand out onto other social medias and the cross-sharing can easily boost each others growth. If all you require is to get your brand in front of as many people as possible to raise awareness, then mailing lists and newsletters could be your best route.
In short, there are countless ways to form and execute awesome partnerships. The above list is by no means exhaustive, but should give you an idea on routes you could follow. Its always worth taking a minute to consider what you want out of any partnerships – your ideal outcome will often guide which method you want to use, be it a more directly engaging complimentary service, or a broader media feature.