January 6, 2017
There’s the adage that two heads are better than one; this sentiment definitely applies to business when relationships are key to success, especially for small businesses. Considering that Canada’s small business sector is responsible for over three-quarters of the new jobs in the past decade and almost 90% of the private-sector labour force1, it is essential that small business owners continue to build strong, lasting partnerships that fuel the business.
In this article, we will explore key reasons why building and maintaining partnerships with peers in larger organizations can yield positive results for small business owners both professionally and organizationally.
Smart business professionals understand that in order to “keep up with the pack”, it’s important to partner with other professionals from which you can learn. By expanding your knowledge about your industry, market trends and the like, you can position yourself as a thought leader whom others will look to for perspective, advice and business opportunities.
By networking with professionals in your field, not only do you start building those relationships, you can start demonstrating your subject matter expertise. Just because you’re in small business doesn’t mean you don’t have big ideas. By raising your profile (whether your ideas match theirs or not), your opinions will become valuable as you spur conversations that lead to ideas, action and opportunities.
In business, there’s always room to improve. That goes both individually and organizationally. By teaming with professionals that come from larger organizations, you are potentially tapping into other skillsets that your business can take advantage of in the future. Be open to learning, knowledge sharing and listening; those efforts may very well open up more doors.
Like any relationship, it requires work. And for small business, it’s imperative. Successful small business owners know how to build and maintain relationships2. These relationships must be mutually beneficial so make sure to share, give and support. There is a 60/40 rules when it comes to collaborating with a larger business partner: Your partner will expect more from you, and you should expect slightly less back. Give 60 percent of your time and efforts, expect to get 40 percent of theirs in return3. Communicate frequently – set aside time to maintain your business relationships as you never know when opportunity will come knocking.
It is a good time for small businesses in Canada – 74% of businesses say they are either somewhat or very optimistic about the year ahead4. More than a quarter of small businesses are looking to expand sales channels and 3 out of 4 businesses are looking to hire. It’s a lot of hard work, dedication and the fostering of business relationships that make the upcoming year optimistic for this business sector. Being open to partnering with professionals in larger organizations will help elevate you as a professional and take your small business to new heights. Here’s to a successful new year!
1Government of Canada: Key Small Business Statistics
2Inc.com: How to Build Better Business relationships
3Entrepreneur: How to Successfully Collaborate with a Larger Business Partner
4CanadaOne: 3 Things to Know About the Upcoming Year