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How to Create Strategic Partnerships as a Small Business

Looking for ways to fast-track your business’ growth? Partnerships could just be what your small business needs.

But here’s the thing—you don’t want to jump on any partnership you come across. Smart business owners are strategic about who they work with, and how they go about creating a mutually beneficial collaboration.

Read on to learn more about what it means to create effective strategic partnerships that helps your business grow!

Why look for partnerships?

As a small business owner, you’ll find yourself wearing many hats. From social media postings, to order management, customer service, and the list goes on.

At some point, you might find that your marketing efforts aren't substantial enough, especially if you’re running a business on your own.

To grow at a faster pace and reach new customers online, you’ll need to partner up with other businesses and not just rely on your own efforts.

Great partnerships can open up doors for you. It allows you to market your products to a larger audience and expand your network in the industry. 

Here’s how you can identify quality partnerships for your business:

1. Partner with businesses that carry complementary products

Partnering with a business that carries complementary products can help you reach customers that share similar interests with yours.

If you’re in the F&B industry and specialize in homemade baked goods, consider partnering with a business that carries coffee or tea.

Partnerships like these can help you expand to new markets and create bundled products.

Take the chance to get creative and give your product bundles special themes to make them more attractive to customers!

Bonus tip: Instead of sticking to your niche, look into other industries to find businesses that carry complementary products.

If you’re in the F&B industry, consider working with ceramic artists and pair your goodies with their handmade tableware. 

Collaborating with businesses outside of your industry can give your business a unique advantage over competitors.

2. Look for brands that share the same values

Partnerships need to make sense, especially to consumers. When customers buy from your brand, they’re not just interested in your products—they also care about what your business believes in.

Collaborating with another business that shares the same values as yours can help you reach new customers with equally similar values.

If your business believes in using natural ingredients for scented candles, collaborate with another business that’s catered to the health-conscious.

Look beyond your niche to find businesses that share similar values with yours. You’ll be surprised at the new opportunities you’ll stumble upon.

3. Create incentives for customers who support both businesses

Before you go all out and launch product bundles, take a moment and think from your customers’ perspectives. Have they heard of this business you’re collaborating with? Does it feel foreign to them?

Customers are risk-averse, especially if you’re introducing a new product that they’ve never tried. Give customers a discount on special product bundles, or even dedicated discount codes to your partner’s customers.

These unique discount codes also have the added advantage of helping you measure how successful your collaboration is in generating revenue.

See also: Promo or No Promo? Tips to Increase Sales Using Coupon Codes for Customers

4. Start with simple collabs before diving into bigger projects

Is this your first time collaborating with another business? Consider starting with simple collabs like giveaways before diving into bigger campaigns. 

Giveaways are great at helping you clear existing stock while generating interest for your products. You won’t need to go out of your way to create new co-branded products or bear any financial costs.

See also: Work with Influencers with No Budget: A Complete Small Business Guide

Is social media following important?

Tracking a potential partner’s social media following can give you an idea of who you want to work with.

That said, your partner’s followers shouldn’t be the key deciding factor for collaborations. 

Other metrics you should look at include the number of likes and comments on their social media posts. This will give you an idea of how engaged their audience is. 

There are many social media accounts with high followings but low levels of engagement.

These accounts may not have as much influence or reach as you might expect, and you’ll want to factor that into how filter your partnerships.

Build credibility for your business with an online store

A partnership goes both ways. While you’re filtering through different businesses to look for potential partners, others could also be accessing how it can benefit them when they partner with you.

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