So there I was on a Sunday last month, being a panel expert for a business group. They were mostly new small business owners, all very eager to learn and keen to see their businesses take off. There were people from all over the country and from all different industries: online businesses, offline businesses and businesses that were way out of the box.
The one thing all these small business owners had in common was they were trying to grow their business the hard way. They were trying to get customers and clients one by one-by-one.
Over the course of the day I walked away having seen the same things come up over and over. It made me think that if only every business could get the following four things right they would get instant results.
1. You must have a community and not a database
Everyone is told “grow your database, email them and stay front of mind and eventually they will leave you or buy from you”. Wrong. Society has changed and people don’t want countless emails. They don’t read them and quite often you are wasting your time and effort in sending them. People want to belong, people want to be connected and they want to feel that they are part of something bigger than just them.
When you have a community rather than a database you think differently, you act differently and you actually care about your people and want them to be successful. A database is just a name and email, a community is a personal relationship.
The more personal relationships you have with your community the more opportunities will come your way.
2. You must create joint ventures and cross promotions with others
There was a lady with an online store and she was trying to drive traffic to her site day in and day out. She was running paid advertising, using social media, working 12 hours a day, doing flyers, going to markets; you name it, she was doing it. BUT she wasn’t using leverage and other people’s networks.
I said to her “if I was in your shoes this is what I would be doing … go and find 100 mothers’ groups (mothers were her target audience) and create a win/win opportunity for them so that they will promote you to their community.” By the time she had found those 100 groups she had access to nearly 317,000 people. How long or how much would it have costed for her to reach that number herself?
3. You must think BIG with your partners
If you are going to partner with people and create joint ventures and cross promotions then do it with big partners. Sure they might say no, however if you don’t ask you will never know. Big players want to collaborate just as much as little players. The key is finding a win/win so that they can’t refuse your offer. Instead of 100 mothers’ groups you might only need know 10 to get the same traction.
4. You must take action and follow through
As simple as this sounds it’s amazing how many people know this is a good idea yet don’t do anything about it. Get yourself out of the way and put a partner action plan in place to follow.
There really are only three steps you need to complete:
- First you need to find the partners: search on the internet, search on social media, speak to your current network and find people who have the same clientele as you do but you don’t compete with you.
- Second make contact with those people: discuss the possibility of creating a collaboration with one another, work out the win/win for both parties. Remember if there is no win/win then nothing gets done.
- Finally set up action steps you both need to follow to make the collaboration come through and follow that plan.
In today’s business world, if you’re trying to reach everyone on your own, it’s going to take a long, long time to do so. And you might run out of love for your business before you get there! Having business partnerships is the quickest way to grow your business and it all starts with a simple phone call or message.