Think of your business as a piece of a puzzle.  Without the pieces around you, the picture is incomplete.  You offer products and services that both compete with and compliment the offerings of those around you to varying degrees.  The best businesses to collaborate with are those who share the same target market with minimal overlap on the product or service offer and whom use each other’s offer.  When seeking collaboration partners, keep this front and centre.

There are other elements to consider when selecting collaborators –

  1. Ensure your values align.  If integrity, trust, level of service, price, quality and branding are out of alignment pull the pin early.  These things, while they may seem innocuous early on, will slowly grate, create friction and end in tears.  Evaluate them up front and make the call.
  2. Discuss what each will bring to the table.  Every business has resources.  Which resources are you expecting to give and gain from?  This may be an evolutionary process of discovery but it’s worth keeping in mind from the start.  No party wants to feel they are committing too much without commensurate return.
  3. What are you expecting/wanting to receive?  There’s no right answer.  Discuss your expectations and see if you can assist the other to that degree.  If you can’t, but otherwise things are feeling good, float the idea of bringing in another party who may be able to fill the gap.  For this to work, compromises may have to be made.
  4. Do your target markets overlap sufficiently without competition?  For example; a graphic designer, photographer, videographer, copywriter, social media marketer and a website designer all service the same target market with minimal, if any, overlap.  It’s perfect.  However…
  5. Are you each able to attract clients in even numbers?  When a business begins it’s the website that first comes to the business owner’s mind.  That means the website designer is in a better position to attract clients than the others.  If this is going to cause friction because the website designer initiates all the customers then what initially seemed sweet may quickly sour.

 Think of your various business funnels and personalities and assess if you’re all a good fit.

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From those in heels

Lisa & Jo