Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2011
As a small business it's important to understand that, now more than ever, the best way to compete with your larger counterparts is by banding together with other small businesses. Together, small businesses can create a voice loud enough to compete with larger corporations. If businesses can harness the power of a collective and look to each other as partners and not competitors, they in turn have the ability to achieve great success.
So whether it is done formally or informally, take the time to build relationships with like-minded businesses and individuals. Here are just few great examples of how you can join forces with other small businesses.
Start by joining a local entrepreneur's meet up group. Local groups are a great way to share and receive advice, build support, and most importantly, gain referrals. Consider checking out MeetUp.com or your local chamber of commerce to find or even create a relevant group in your area.
If you have a strong Twitter or Facebook following, don't be afraid to organize a meet up for a more powerful face-to-face networking experience. For strong referrals, consider a referral group like BNI where local professionals meet strictly to share referrals, marketing tips and even testimonials.
If in-person meetups aren't for you, or your business targets customers and clients on a far larger scale, try joining a social network or virtual group. You should be able to easily find like-minded entrepreneurs to exchange advice, gain support, build relationships and even partnerships. Sites to try out: Facebook, Twitter, and Entrepreneur Connect.
Help fellow small businesses. Networking is a two-way street. To be a successful networker, keep an eye out for any opportunity to assist a related small business. By providing valuable opportunities to others in your network, other businesses and individuals will be attracted to your network. Basically, if you give business to others, you'll gain business in return.
Create informal unions with other like-minded companies. Find a way to reach out to companies that share a similar customer service, business, product development, etc. Perhaps offer to post (to your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc...) about a business in exchange for them returning the favor. These kinds of alliances can greatly increase the value you provide to your own customers and even expand audience awareness of your business.
Let it be known that you support other small businesses. Take a look at some of the current vendors you are using to find out if there is room for you to "downsize" by supporting a local business (virtual or physical) instead. If you are encouraging other individuals and businesses to support small businesses, be sure that you're keeping true to your own words.
For more information on ways to boost, expand or network your business, contact us today. You can give us a call at 1-951-541-9304 or send us a message.