Why partnerships are your secret weapon to building referrals

Why Partnerships Are Your Secret Weapon to Building Referrals

Generating referrals is the key to securing your business’s long-term success, and it can feel like a pretty massive undertaking. One way to lighten the load and help you to create a more sustainable stream of referrals is to build partnerships.

Why go it alone when you could instead join forces with other business owners and make the referral process easier for both of you?

Types of Partnerships

When you’re thinking about establishing partnerships for your business, there are a few different types of relationships to consider.

Strategic partners. These are businesses or individuals who provide a good or service that is directly tied to your business’s product offering. If you’re a graphic designer, you want to have a trustworthy copywriter who you can suggest to your clients.

Content partners. A network of publishers, bloggers, and those in need of content for their own sites can help you to spread your business’s name, mission, and unique point of view to a whole new audience of people.

Co-marketing partners. These are business owners whose business models have some sort of synergy with your own company. If you’re a plumber, this person might be an electrician or contractor.

As a fellow business owner who’s not in direct competition with you, but does business with a subset of the population who might also have an interest in and need for your business’s offerings, these relationships offer easy cross-promotion opportunities. Bonus points if you can create partnerships that are unexpected like the ones we’ve outlined here; unique partnerships can generate even more marketing buzz!

There are a variety of reasons to consider each type of partnership, and there’s a different value-add that comes from each one. That’s why it’s important to focus on building up a comprehensive network of partners, with different partners from each type of group.

Become a Trustworthy Guide for Your Customers

No matter what business you’re in, there are a lot of other businesses out there that do what you do. While a key part of standing out from the crowd is making sure you have a clearly defined value proposition, another thing that will keep customers coming back again and again is that they see you as more than just a provider of a good or service—they see you as a trustworthy partner and advisor.

One way to become a trusted partner is to tap into your network of fellow business owners who you yourself know and trust. When you’re able to suggest other service providers to your customers, it makes you seem like someone who’s in the know and who truly has your customers’ best interests at heart.

Let’s say, for example, that you own a rare used bookstore. A customer comes in and buys a first edition of a work by their favorite author, but then they want to be sure they’re going to be able to care for their new, beloved purchase. You should be able to provide them with a list of trusted partners—a bookbinder who can help restore the original leather cover, a vendor of special boxes for book storage, or an appraiser who can help set the sale price for another rare book in their collection.

These partners need to be people that you know and trust; you’ll do more harm than good if you suggest another business who does not do right by your customer. But if you do have a strong network of other worthy businesses who can provide a service that’s of real value to your existing customers, then you establish yourself as a trusted source of knowledge in your industry, and the next time your customer is looking for advice or to do business, they’ll be coming back to you.

Move Up the Hourglass

There is a lot of work that goes into winning over new business, particularly if you’re starting from scratch. For someone to decide to go with your company, there are four steps in the marketing hourglass before a new customer even makes their first purchase. And there is a tremendous amount of effort and money that can go into those first four steps.

For someone to come to know and like your business, there are marketing and advertising dollars to be spent. To establish trust, you need testimonials. For the trial phase, you need to create products or services that you’re willing to give away for free in hopes that it converts your prospect into an actual customer.

Establishing partnerships, however, allows you to leap over the heavy lifting associated with these steps. You don’t need to spend excessive amounts of money on advertising and marketing to prospects when you have a solid partnership network who will refer their customers to your business.

A prospect who has been referred to you by a business owner they already know, like, and trust, will have an inherent level of trust in your business. This allows you to jump ahead and move right to the try and buy portion of the hourglass.

Double Your Network Overnight

As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one, and that’s particularly true when building up referrals. You’ve worked hard to create repeat customers, and new customer acquisition is a costly endeavor. You know that other small business owners have put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into creating their own roster of return clients. Why not come together with a fellow entrepreneur to double your network overnight?

When you establish a strategic or co-marketing partnership, suddenly you have access to another business owner’s entire rolodex. There’s no competitiveness there, because you offer products that are related but different, and so you’re willing and able to share your existing network with this other business owner.

Additionally, you can consider creating new marketing campaigns that are a joint effort. While you double your reach, you can also halve your costs by splitting advertising fees with your new partner. Running joint promotions for your business can allow you to catch the eye of your established customer base, their established customer base, plus those who are new prospects for both of you.

Referrals are the lifeblood of any business. Why go it alone on this important road to generating referrals when you could join forces with another like-minded business owner? Together, you can help each other to create a sustainable referral engine that will continue to benefit you both in the long term.


Why you shouldn't be afraid of starting a business in your twenties

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of Starting A Business In Your Twenties

Why You shouldn’t be Afraid to Start a Business in Your Twenties

“Once a boy enters his twenties, he is no more a boy. He is now a young man ready to take on this world.” – Unknown

As youngsters in their twenties, we are all riddled by a big question, “Is starting a business right now a good idea?” Almost everyone faces this question at some point in time in their life. People in their 30s or even 40s now have faced this question before, when they were young and strong. As we all ponder upon this question, the most diplomatic answer would be, “It depends.”

However, countless examples of successful businesses, which entrepreneurs started in their twenties flood the market today. The biggest examples include the likes of Steve Jobs(founded Apple Computers at the age of 21), Elon Musk (founded Zip2 at age 28) and Bill Gates (founded Microsoft at age 20). All these people are huge names in the business world and are revered by peers and business students all alike.

Business Doesn’t Need Age – It Needs A Savvy Mind

Age has never been a factor to become a successful entrepreneur. If anything at all, companies founded by youngsters get a longer time to mature and stabilise in their business. All this happens with the founders still at the helm of the business while they reach great heights. As an entrepreneur, you need a keen eye for the right opportunities and a passionate heart to solve a problem for the people.

Doing a business requires you to put in efforts, work on goals, deadlines and requirements of other people, all this while not letting it conflict with your interests. A businessman puts the requirements of his customers, clients, partners, financers etc. on the top priority list and works hard to ensure those priorities are attended to properly. An entrepreneur gathers a team of like-minded individuals that works towards a common goal.

The shortest possible list of requirements to become a successful businessman has three things – goals, a team, and skills. Your age is not a part of that list.

You Are More Energetic in Your Twenties

A 25-year old will tend to be more energetic, passionate, and willing to fail in comparison to someone a decade, maybe two older. This is the time when you have the energy to fail and get back up and start fresh. You can hustle a lot more when you are young and learn as much as possible. By starting your own venture when young, you get more time to make mistakes, learn from them, and build a successful venture in the long run.

So…What Business Should You Opt For?

Most typically, solving a local problem with your venture will get you success. You don’t necessarily have to be an innovator, although that would be great. Also, you can solve any problem people face. Even something as simple as opening a clocks and watches store in a locality could work wonders. This is especially true if there are no other watch shops nearby. This is just an example, there could be more such things. If you have a special idea, such as that of the WaterWheel, that would not only give you a clear road to success, but you would also be making the world a little better place for everyone. Do not despair if you don’t have an innovative idea of your own though. A business doesn’t work only on ideas; keep that in mind.

Then…What Should You Do?

  • Start off by setting your eyes on a type of business. Remember, there is no small or large business; there is just business. You could be a shop owner or a product manufacturer or a marketing professional; it is all up to you.
  • Once you have decided on the type of business you want to be in, start gathering skills needed for it. Just management wouldn’t do; you need to be ready to dive into operations and executions every time needed. Being an all-rounder will take you ahead of the competition. Guess what? Your 20s is the perfect time to learn those skills.
  • If you like reading, you have a plus. Reading broadens your perspective. The more you read the better you can relate to things. You don’t need to only read what is related to your stream; all kinds of books are good for you. The more you read, the more information you have and subsequently, the better you can make dots connect.
  • Start looking for patterns. This is a critical skill needed for every businessman. As youngsters, we have a better cognitive ability to etch out patterns and make relevant connections in the mind to come up with an ingenious idea to make your business zoom past any competition.
  • Meet as many people as you can. It is always useful to meet all types of people. This might seem repetitive and may get boring. However, meeting people is how you make contacts and contacts are a very important need for businessmen.

In a Nutshell

When you have business acumen, staying put is out of the question. Age has never been a factor in deciding an entrepreneur’s chances of success. Taking risks in your twenties is fine as long as you learn from your experiences and make the most of them. Building up skills, meeting new people, and finding patterns in seemingly random things is what separates a great businessman from a mediocre one.

If you are looking for the right solutions for your small or medium business, or even substantial and appropriate advice or mentorship, click here

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