There’s the old adage that two heads are better than one. In business, relationships can be keys to success, especially for small businesses. Professional partnerships are powerful for increasing financing, expanding your knowledge base, and building a new network of connections.
Canada’s small business sector was responsible for over two-thirds of the new jobs created in the past decade and over 80% of the private-sector labour force. It is essential that small business owners continue to build strong, lasting partnerships that fuel the business and keep this momentum growing.
Here are just a few ways building and maintaining partnerships with peers in larger organizations can benefit small business owners both professionally and organizationally.
The digital space is packed with voices, and it’s become increasingly difficult to be heard above the noise. 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. You can expand your knowledge about your industry and market trends, and position yourself as a thought leader who others will look to for perspective, advice, and business opportunities.
Networking with professionals in your field sends the signal of your value. You can start demonstrating your subject matter expertise, in addition to building those relationships. Many small business leaders have big ideas that others are eager to exchange and will help raise your profile. Whether your viewpoint matches theirs or not, your opinions will become valuable as you spur conversations that lead to ideas, action, and opportunities.
There’s always room to improve in business, both individually and organizationally. Teaming with professionals from larger organizations opens your team up to 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, partnerships require work. For small businesses, the potential of every opportunity is worth the effort. Successful small business owners know how to build and maintain relationships. These relationships must be mutually beneficial so make sure to share, give and support.
There is a 60/40 rule 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 effort and expect to receive 40 percent of theirs in return. Communicate frequently – set aside time to maintain your business relationships as you never know when opportunity will come knocking.
There is cautious optimism for small business recovery in Canada – sixty-two of businesses say they are confident in their ability to stay open, compared to just forty-eight percent globally. More than half of small businesses expect their use of digital tools to be permanent, especially with the accelerated shift toward online channels for purchases. The good news is this critical pivot to e-commerce has been equally profitable for small businesses as it has for global organizations.
It will take hard work, dedication, and carefully nurturing business relationships to help make the upcoming year optimistic for the small 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 year!
See how collaborating with a partner can lead to simpler payroll, with top things to look for in a partner.