6 Tips to Build Profitable Alliances To Grow Your Business

Some of your best promotional opportunities lie with some of the businesses around you. Together, you can capture the attention of potential new clients, wow them into loyalty, and leap over tall buildings—or at least conquer budget constraints. By working together, you can cast a bigger net to attract more clients and have more successful promotions this holiday season.

Holidays are a good time to test a collaboration since end-of-year sales are important across many industries. Although some may have their own tried and true formulas to reach their sales goals, many may be approachable if you plan early. There are many ways that you could collaborate from lending your physical space, sponsoring a giveaway item, or a co-promotion offer. All require fostering a good relationship for success.

As new opportunities appear for you over the next months, consider these 6 tips to building profitable alliances with other businesses:

1) Connect with the businesses where you already have a personal relationship, such as clients, your immediate neighbors, or suppliers. Determine which ones have quality products and share similar values about running a business. My research with client focus groups has shown that loyalty increases when salons can support clients to meet their personal and professional goals.

3) Consider businesses unrelated to beauty like restaurants, retailers, or entertainment services. While partnering with make-up artists or spas are great, expand your horizons. Clients shop for a wide range of gifts during the holiday season. Gift cards are easy to bundle and implement for a cross-promotion idea.

4) Make sure the relationship will be a two-way street. Think about what you have to give in order to make it worthwhile for your partner.  Volunteer to give a little more (i.e. include a swag bag’s donors information on your flyers or website) even if they don’t ask. You want to create long term relationships that may keep giving long after your first collaboration.

5) Be transparent about your expectations upfront. If you expect the other business to post a display at their front desk, make sure you discuss how you will both participate in promotions.

6) Don’t be afraid to partner with someone bigger than you. With a larger business, you may need to give more advance notice (i.e. no winging it) and more “process” but you will be able to reap huge rewards. Just confidently express the value in your client base (i.e. Tell a potential business partner that 60% of your clients are working moms who likely shop at their store).

The Final Scoop:

You can start slow and still reap the benefits of spreading the scoop about your brand through business collaborations. To leverage these relationships for profit, you need to devote time to nurture, often away from your core operations. Although the returns are not instantaneous, these referral engines can yield dividends over many years to come.

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