You have launched a startup and you want to get your SME off the ground. Without the ability to generate leads and sales, there is no way to make conversions. And, without those, the profit margins will dip into the red and you'll end up saddled with debt. Before long, the sure thing turns into another cautionary tale of how eight out of ten small and medium-sized businesses go bust.
Because you lack the amount of resources you need to survive and thrive, it's imperative to act quickly. Some owners like to cut costs to the bone whereas others prefer to borrow and spend their way out of trouble. Another alternative is to cultivate and secure corporate partnerships. With investors, there is a steady stream of money to help build and grow the company.
Still, there's one small twist: you don't know how to expand. Don't worry because it's not as straightforward as it seems. Growth is complicated, and if it weren't, there wouldn't be a business on the planet that failed. Here's how to use partnerships to get the ship sailing again.
Share Their Exposure
One of the reasons you paired with a partner was due to their size. As a big company, they have the resources and information you need to succeed. But, they won't always hand it to you on a plate - they like to take without giving back if possible. So, it's essential to find another way to piggyback off their status, and the answer is simple.
All you need to do is to make customers and shoppers aware of the connection. Once they see a big corporation's logo next to yours, they'll make a positive judgment. After all, a massive firm wouldn't pair with an SME unless the latter had something to offer. Thankfully, modern day marketing tactics make this incredibly easy to achieve. On the platforms where you advertise, include a small sentence which says something like "partners of X."
It's a short sentence yet the impact will be huge. Plus, your partners can't get angry because it's true and you're not doing anything wrong. If you're both on the same page, a press release or a social media post can be as effective. Be sure to make the link available online for a broader reach.
Although a partner might not give you money upfront, they might provide you with perks. Technology is a major one in this day and age as it helps transform business' fortunes. A free credit card reader allows a run-of-the-mill blog to turn into an eCommerce website and sell products and services. As long as there is a way to process payments online, there's no need to stop geography from limiting your sales.
Still, it's crucial to use them in the correct way to get the most out of the gift. Let's stick with the example of a card reader for a moment. You can use it in a basic form and accept standard payments or you can take it to the next level by adding more. Shoppers who prefer to use American Express will love the fact that your business rewards them and not just Visa and MasterCard holders. The same applies to PayPal users too; plus it's the most secure form of payment so it's worth incorporating.
Do your research and think of creative yet effective ways to take a gift to the next level. It might be as simple as using the stock as promotional presents to raise awareness of the brand.
Technically, cutting back on expenses isn't a form of growth. However, you can use the money you save to invest the money and expand the company's processes. In many ways, cutting costs isn't the answer as it leads to a culture of penny-pinching as opposed to calculated risk-taking. In this case, you won't suffer from trying to reduce your overheads thanks to your partners.
Lots of companies don't have the option of eliminating services and having a readymade replacement available. You do because the odds are high that the partner in question has facilities such as training programs on hand. With its budget, there is no reason to let staff stagnate. By asking if you can use them too, you get to have your cake and eat it. A partner shouldn't have any objections because what they give out they receive two-fold. After all, your customer service is now a reflection of their brand and they can't afford it to be inferior.
A savvy move is to research the things they offer and cut them in your company. After all, they are pointless expenditures if you have access to high-quality services.
99% of SMEs can't afford to be bold. Gambling means taking risks and they lead to mistakes. Seen as one error might bring down the shutters, they need to stick to the tried and tested. You are different since your partner will have your back. It's one of the perks of cultivating corporate relationships. Therefore, you can be creative and experiment where others can't.
Have you heard of Headspace? They're a digital application company which focuses on meditation that teamed up with Selfridges back in 2012. Using their expertise, the team developed pods to help shoppers stay mindful while shopping. For Selfridges, it helped them build a brand centered on improving their customers wellbeing. Still, it took awhile for the relationship to bear fruit and Headspace had to go back to the drawing board several times.
Each time they did, they came up with an improved method on how to hit their goal and never had to worry thanks to their partnership with Selfridges. You won't have a great deal of rope, but what little you have, you should use in the same way as Headspace.
The company is now worth $50 million and is a tech industry giant so you could say it pays to experiment. Don't take Headspace's word for it though - get out there and try it yourself.