Strategic business partnerships give your business life! Are you on the grind daily to build your business and feeling the weight of that lonely and sometimes rough entrepreneurial journey? Stop flying solo, Sis. There are many ways to connect with other professionals and entrepreneurs to lighten the load, streamline efforts, share resources, and find others who will simply have your back during the struggle. Check out these 6 ways to form partnerships that will boost your sales and your business success.
Join a Mastermind Group.
Oftentimes, the entrepreneur will fill find that peer learning and group planning is an affordable source of leadership development and continuous learning. The concept of the Mastermind Group was formally introduced by Napoleon Hill in the early 1900s. In his timeless classic, “Think And Grow Rich” where he described a Mastermind as: “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”
In a Mastermind experience, the agenda belongs to the group, and the group has a common goal or focus. As a participant, you receive feedback from participants, and have multiple minds on the job as you problem-solve, and brainstorm new business ideas and strategies. Mastermind groups can hold you accountable and help you stay on track toward key business goals.
Join a Leads Group.
Did you know that a person who is referred to you is five times as likely to buy from you as any other type of prospect? It’s because they trust in you based on their relationship with the person who referred them. With this in mind, a leads group is a very powerful way to generate more referrals in your sales pipeline.
Leads groups—also called referral or resource groups—exist for the sole purpose of providing referrals to their members. In a sense, each person in the group is prospecting for and receiving prospects from the other members. Members typically meet weekly or bi-weekly to pass leads to each other. In SistahLeads, groups of 5 women come together to generate referrals for each other while learning how to score and nurture leads. Each member commits to perfect attendance, bringing leads for the rest of the group, and gets exposure for her business on the Sistahpreneurs website. In some ways, we act as a personal sales team for each sistah-member.
Form a Direct Referral Partnership.
Similarly to the focus of a leads group, a direct referral partnership is designed to bring you more referrals. However, you can hand-pick someone who may be a great fit to exchange referrals with and simply negotiate a partnership. This works great if you find a complementary business. For instance, a home appraisal company and a real estate firm, a hair salon and spa or a graphic designer and web developer might all be examples of businesses that share the same customer base without directly competing with each other.
Collaborate on an Event.
Collaborating on events is a great way to get a larger turnout. If you and another business owner plan an event together, you’re likely to get a better turnout with both of you marketing the event. In addition, you will both have access to each other’s networks for lead generation and promotion. Plus, you’ll both save on costs and time by sharing the planning load.
Create an Affiliate Program.
An affiliate program is a structured way for people to sign up to promote your business in exchange for a percentage or dollar amount for every new customer they refer to you. This can take more work to create, and essentially becomes a part of your business model so is a bit more involved, but affiliate programs are a great way to get other people to market your products and services while offering them an additional source of income. It’s a wonderful pay-for-performance marketing strategy, that helps you avoid large upfront, and/or low-return costs for marketing.
Find a Business Bestie.
A business bestie is a fellow entrepreneur you build a professional, productive friendship with – kind of like a smaller version of the Mastermind group we saw earlier. You can share challenges, problem-solve, and hold each other accountable. If you hate going to networking events alone, your business bestie can roll with you. Just be careful not to lean on her or him for company when you get there – split up and work the room for some time. It can be nice, though, to walk in and get that first drink together while scanning the room and looking for networking opportunities.
Apply for a Leadership Program.
Often times, your local chamber of commerce or business alliance will have a leadership program that runs for a year or so. The program usually provides professional development, speakers, and a cohort experience with other entrepreneurs. Check out the opportunities in your area. These programs are a great way to learn and grow build a close-knit network and increase exposure to your business.
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