Benefit from Local Business Alliances

a partnership ecosystem
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Big brands are not in it alone. They develop strong partnerships. It is succinct and not something they go about advertising. Consider the devices you use and you will see brand partnerships in action.  

As an example, take Android smartphones. They run on open-source software. Samsung devices have ditched development of the Tizen OS in favour of partnering with Google. Now Galaxy Smartwatches use the Google’s Wear OS (an offspring of Android) that are “powered by Samsung”.  

The majority of businesses have strategic, and often high-value partnerships, even if it is only with suppliers. There is an entire ecosystem of partnerships integrated into all well-known brands.  

A partnership ecosystem is something small and local businesses can benefit from. And, being local, it is simpler to establish, more powerful, and forges stronger business “relationships”.  

The emphasis is on relationship because an alliance is not the same as a business partnership, which needs to be mutually beneficial for both parties financially. 

Examples of Local Business Partnerships 

A mobile catering unit of speciality goods such as organic vegetables, or even sushi can work with local delicacies, or bars to establish a regular two-hour catering slot.  

  • Events management agencies have a great deal of sway. They can partner with local restaurants and bars to provide specials to ticket holders for either pre-theatre dining experiences or after-show drinks. Possibly both. Probably different venues. 
  • Local sports clubs can do the same with bars. Provide discount vouchers to attendees for post-match drinks.  
  • Gyms can partner with local sportswear stores to provide loyalty schemes for both businesses.  

Establishing a business partnership with any related business is difficult because there needs to be a financial gain for both parties. When one partner gets more from the business arrangement than the other, there becomes little incentive to continue the relationship or focus much attention on the partnership. 

Business alliances offer a simpler path to building a partnership ecosystem 

Business alliances are a less risky proposition. Unlike a partnership that requires careful relationship management to ensure both parties are benefiting from the collaboration, an alliance works differently. There is less of a financial obligation to meet to take care of others in the alliance.  

Farmer’s markets are one example. Some stalls sell homemade jams, others sell organic eggs, and the next stall could be artisan cheese. They are all in the same industry, but they each have a different product for a similar customer. The market is just an alliance to bring the same group of customers together.  

This same strategic alliance can be formed with local businesses. The key is knowing your customer and the journey they take before and after they buy your service or product.  

A simple way to identify potential channels for alliances is thinking about where you advertise locally.  

Local photographers may get a lot of referrals from a beauty salon, because, well, customers typically get their hair done for any special event, like a day at the races. For special events, multiple events are often involved. Nail salon services, hairdressing, and perhaps a makeover service, or a full-service beauty salon.  

For weddings, stores for bridal wear, or custom dressmakers are other potential alliance opportunities. These are already popular for those in the wedding industry. Unlike markets, they call them wedding fairs or bridal shows.  

Each industry has different terms. In all cases, events with related businesses serving the same target group of customers are an alliance.  

The more you know about your industry and your customer’s journey, the more opportunities you’ll be able to spot, jump on, and make the most of whichever opportunity presents itself.  

 

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