When in business, especially in small business it is all too easy to fall into the trap of trying to be all things for all people. This of course is not only impossible but also a very unproductive waste of your focus and time.
I have fallen into this trap many times over the years and I can’t think of any one instance where it has worked out well for me. This can be said for either trying to grow a business to a point where you can’t keep up or trying to offer products and services that are not part of your standard offering. Yes, I know we should all be striving to push our boundaries but not when it comes at the expense of your reputation and/or your lifestyle, after all what the point in building a business to create a better lifestyle if all you’re ever doing is working in the business.
I have got wiser as I get older I believe though, I have realised that there is a much better way to satisfy more of your client/customer/follower needs, this is much better achieved by teaming up with business partners. These partners would preferably need to align well with your current offering but be able to enhance this offering into their particular niche or area. Thus giving you the opportunity to satisfy more of your customer needs with a quality offer without any stress or drain on your own resources.
First you need to step back and work out what you want from the partnership, I’m not talking the affiliate type partnership here, this needs to be a much more personal relationship, more of a “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”, the said partner may offer an extension of your services/products that you can’t provide and in return they may have clients that are more suited to your service product offering. You could agree on a financial arrangement for sales leads but I prefer to leave this out of the equation.
It’s not too complicated, here is an example of the partnerships that I have created in my Cyclerides cycle tour business of late and the resultant benefits:
Taste of Tour de France small group cycle tour – ProSport Health & Fitness
Each year I sell a small group cycling tour that runs at the same time as the Tour de France, this is a 2 ½ week tour for a small group of up to 10 cyclists from Australia. I need to market extensively to sell this tour, this of course takes time, effort, money and has no guarantee of success.
This year I have instead partnered with leading health, fitness and adventure tour company ProSport Health & Fitness handing all the places for the tour over to them to onsell to their clients as their own tour.
The benefits to ProSport Health and Fitness are they have a fully tested packaged tour to sell to their clientele without the need to spend the time and money on research, hotel, transport and guide bookings. They benefit from receiving the itinerary and route information in a form that is easily formatted to add to their website and promotional materials saving them even more time.
The benefits to me ( Cyclerides Australia) are that the tour is fully sold and I don’t need to spend time, resources and money advertising it. Further benefits are that I get to deal with one person rather than all the individuals, this too saves me time and makes the planning very much simpler.
Sharing the French Alps – Sharing Bali
I decided that I would like to offer more of a French Alps cultural experience to my Cyclerides product offer, a package that is more for those that want to stay put rather than travel from place to place, giving the opportunity to get to know the locals as well as experience the cycling routes.
This model is very close to what my sister Karen Willis offers at her very successful Sharing Bali retreat in the hills above Ubud. A wide variety of trainers bring groups to Sharing Bali to do a wide range of activities, bootcamps, yoga retreats, crossfit to name a few, all these programs include local activities and cultural experiences.
We agreed that a partnership that would see me brand my French Alps product as “Sharing” would create benefits for both parties:
Karen is able to offer her loyal client base another location and experience without the risk, time of money involved in running it herself.
I am able to benefit of Sharing Bali’s large database of loyal fans/followers to market my new product to, at the same time I gain endorsement from someone that these people already know and trust.
CMI cycling trips and training camps
I made a conscious decision that I would limit my product mix to the one Tour de France tour and the Sharing the French Alps experience, I have no desire to build a business that grows to the point of cutting into my lifestyle (been there done that).
Instead I have partnered with European company CMI Cycling to promote their large range of tours and training camps. Again there are benefits for both parties:
I am able to offer my followers a wider variety of tours and experiences without the risk, time and money involved in running them myself. I also benefit from the links back to my website from CMI for any potential clients more suited to my product offer, most importantly our product offers don’t cross over too much.
CMI cycling benefits from links and endorsements on the Cyclerides website opening up the opportunity to access to a greater Australian audience of potential clients, they also benefit from Cyclerides clients that have participated in past tours and are now looking for a different experience.
Know and trust your partner
Before entering into any partnership/alliance it is most IMPORTANT that you know, trust and have confidence in your prospective partner and their product offer.
ProSport Health and Fitness – This organisation have been referred to me by my sister, they have taken several groups to Sharing Bali and they have a good track record of taking adventure groups to many destinations worldwide.
Sharing Bali – This one is pretty self explanatory, Karen is my sister and we communicate weekly supporting each other in our individual ventures as well as our personal life challenges. I’m a regular visitor to Sharing Bali and I can’t describe in words what an special place Karen and her partner Wayan have created.
CMI Cycling – This relationship came about as a result of CMI team member and guide Sim Green joining our Taste of the Tour de France tour this year as our local guide, his knowledge of cycling, cycling routes in each area and his friendly nature greatly enhanced the experience for the participants of our tour.
Simeon Green is a member of the CMI Group, he is able a guide for the tours and training camp. Sim has been riding for decades., he started racing Mountain bikes in Europe and America, but has spent the majority of his career racing the UCI Continental Tour, with an emphasis on Europe and Africa. Although he has placed well in regional and National championships as well as having been at the forefront of some smaller stage races, Sim’s strongest attributes have been in the support of others in long distance pro stage races and National Tours.
The final word
I have great confidence that these partnerships will bear fruit for all concerned!!!
Do you have a partnership story???
Please feel free to share you partnership or any other story of interest to the “Working from Anywhere” community.