Supporting local small businesses isn’t just up to the customers. While Small Business Saturday, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are all great opportunities for local businesses and customers to come together to support the community, small business owners can take things into their own hands by partnering with fellow local business owners to promote their mutual success.
Below we’ve compiled a list of five resourceful ways small business owners can collaborate this season to increase revenue, get involved in the local community, and reach new customers.
Collaborating on events, marketing strategies, networking opportunities, or even sharing space are all great ways for local businesses to transition from neighbors to allies. Creating business partnerships can also help increase revenue, elevate brand awareness, and enable businesses to continue serving both loyal and new customer bases.
1. Develop a Strategic Partnership
A strategic partnership is a relationship between two companies with similar products/services that join together for a mutually beneficial outcome. In this case, two small businesses would come together to promote each other to potentially boost sales and expand their audience.
Joint Marketing Initiatives
Using a strategic partnership to create a joint marketing campaign to promote a co-branded product/service that both companies can promote is a great way to increase brand exposure as well as open up your business to your strategic partner’s audience.
For example, a local coffee shop and bookstore could create specialty drinks inspired by famous literary characters and introduce a promotion that allows customers a discount at the bookstore if they come in with one of the specialty drinks. This will hopefully increase sales at both businesses while creating a unique opportunity for a fun marketing campaign.
Utilizing social media for a strategic partnership is a great way to tap into new markets, stay on top of trends, and receive customer feedback in real time.
- Repost stories and feed posts to show support.
- Advertise products from your business partner on social accounts. Have them do the same.
- Implement a social media takeover, where both businesses swap social accounts for the day.
- Create a giveaway or contest on social media where customers have to like and follow both accounts to enter.
Use your current business newsletter and email campaigns as a way to cross-promote and feature your strategic business partner.
- Advertise your co-branded product.
- Share links to social media accounts and websites.
- Launch a discount in your business’ newsletter/email exclusively for subscribers.
- Utilize advertisement space in your business newsletter/email to promote your strategic partner’s products and vice-versa.
2. Network with Other Local Businesses
As a small business owner, finding time to network with other local businesses is super important. Networking is a great way to generate new business leads. Something as simple as attending a local small business mixer could create a new partnership that improves your business!
Attend a Conference
- Meet like-minded business owners and share ideas.
- Find a business that you would like to create a strategic partnership with.
- Conferences can provide your company with a wealth of knowledge in your industry.
Join a Local Organization
- Join industry-specific organizations
- A small business association
- The local chamber of commerce
- Local nonprofit organizations
- It could give your business access to local resources
- These groups can offer development opportunities
- Meet and connect with similar small business owners in your community
3. Collaborative Events
Collaborating with multiple businesses around shared themes and industries can be a great opportunity for cross-promotion, brand awareness, and potentially reaching a new audience.
Join together with similar businesses to host an event. For example, a hair salon, jewelry store, and wedding dress shop can join forces to hold a bridal event in their local community.
Host a Pop-Up
Pop-up events invite unique, special, and exclusive opportunities for businesses to create buzz around their products/services.
- Start a recurring pop-up – once a month.
- Host a joint holiday pop-up event with tons of local businesses joining in.
- Join forces with local companies to give customers a unique and fun experience.
- A bakery and a dog store can create a puppy bakery pop-up
- A boutique could have a pop-up with local designers to sell one-time merch
Host a Meet and Greet
- Set up a table for everyone to display their items.
- Have every business bring informational collateral to hand out.
- Easy way to break the ice with other local small business owners.
- Team up with neighboring businesses in similar fields to grow your customer base.
- Gift goodie bags to guests that include free samples and coupons for your goods/services.
4. Create an Incubator
A business incubator is a program for companies designed to help with workspace, funding, mentoring, and training. Create a membership club for local businesses to come together, brainstorm ideas, and bounce strategies off each other.
- Use this group to find other local shops your business wants to host an event with or create a partnership with.
- Provides a place for local businesses to come together to support each other through educational opportunities and community initiatives.
5. Share Space
Sharing space with other small businesses can be a great way to save money, as well as collaborate with similar local businesses to create long-lasting partnerships.
- Rent space in a larger company.
- Bars can rent out space during the day before they open to coffee shops or bakeries, etc.
- Can help both businesses tap into new markets.
- Team up with other businesses to get a space together to share.
Funding Your Business Partnership
Investing in small business financing solutions to help fund your business partnerships is an excellent way to help kickstart a fruitful relationship.
Line of Credit
A small business line of credit allows businesses to borrow a fixed amount of funds they can draw on when needed while only paying interest or fees on the amount they use. This type of revolving credit can be a valuable tool for small businesses to help grow their partnerships.
Merchant Cash Advance
A merchant cash advance is a short-term alternative business financing option that grants small businesses access to funds in exchange for a percentage of their future credit/debit card receivables. This allows the payment timeline to be tailored to the flow of business sales.
Business Credit Card
Business credit cards are another tool to consider when looking to fund a business partnership. Business credit cards can help provide short-term financing to get your partnership off the ground by financing marketing campaigns, or events.
Collaborating with local small businesses can help deepen the connection both businesses have with their communities and gain emotional and professional support.
It’s up to your business and your strategic partner to decide how to grow your partnership. Following some of these tips could help you create a strong and long-lasting partnership.