|Small Business Information|
Growing Your Small Business Through Alliances and Joint Ventures
-- Beyond Cold Calling, "Warm" Calling and Sending E-mails --
Many Solo Entrepreneurs work from a home office. Our only connections to the outside world are the internet / e-mail and the telephone. Cold calling, "warm" calling and sending e-mails may seem like the most obvious way to let people know about us and to generate sales. But, there's another way that works even better.
An alliance is usually an agreement between two businesses whose services or products compliment each other. Each agrees to recommend the other's services to their respective clients and to pay a percentage to the other if the referral results in paying work. Let's say you're a marketing expert, but you don't do public relations. However, sometimes your clients require public relations as part of their marketing strategy. You meet with several public relations experts who specialize in different fields, but who don't offer your type of marketing services, and you form 3 alliances. A 10% commission is what you agree on for mutual referrals that result in work. Now, both you and your alliance partners are more "full service" providers. You can offer PR services to your clients and your partners can offer marketing services to theirs through you. In addition you could add them as "partners" on your website, giving your company the advantage and versatility of an expert team. It's a win - win situation.
A joint venture is formed when you not only have an alliance but you come up with a strategy to find customers together. Suppose you make custom window treatments. You decide to speak to a local fabric shop that specializes in upholstery and window fabric. If you could be their exclusive referral for customers that need someone to make their fabric into beautiful draperies, and you are willing to pay them a commission for each referral, what happens? They can say they now offer a new value-added service to their customers, which may mean a customer chooses their store above another. You have a steady source of customers. You may even get them to display some of your draperies made with their fabric in your store. They agree to allow you to advertise in their store, perhaps even offer a workshop, and you'll recommend them exclusively to your clients. You may even advertise together. The possibilities are limitless.
There are numerous ways to put together alliances and joint ventures. Thinking outside the box and being clear about what benefits both parties would receive are essential. As always, getting the agreement in writing is a good idea, as is being sure the person you're dealing with is honorable and reliable. And try to discover ALL the alliance possibilities that exist for your business. Our custom window treatment business owner above could also contact interior designers, furniture stores, residential real estate agents, home builders sales offices and even paint stores. So, what are you waiting for? Start today by:
-- Making a list of at least 5 prospective alliance partners.
-- Making a list of 5 ways the alliance would benefit them and you.
-- Making a list of 5 ways you could implement the alliance. start making contact!
One Final Note ? some people have asked whether or not to disclose the partnership to the client. Sometimes it's obvious that you are referring a client to your alliance partner, as in the case of the drapery maker and the fabric store. If it's not so apparent, you may want to simply inform your client that you will be working with your alliance partner who is an expert in their field. For the sake of consistency, how much to explain to a client is something that you and your partner should agree upon up front.
Copyright 2003, Janis Pettit
Janis Pettit member of Team Solo-E (http://www.Solo-E.com) and President of SmarTrack (http://www.smartrack.net), which specializes in improving profit and productivity through small business marketing and growth consulting, business coaching, workshops and tele-classes. Janis is co-author of 136 Ways to Market Your Small Business. Her dynamic Big Vision Roadmap series includes a Mastery Program for small business, Big Vision Roadmap to Sales, Big Vision Marketing and Leadership, plus an upcoming book. In addition to owning four successful businesses over the last 18 years, Janis has worked with scores of small businesses owners and independent agents, as well as larger corporate clients such as IBM and Becton Dickinson. She hosted her own TV business talk show in New York, has motivated hundreds of professionals through public speaking and workshops and her articles have been published both locally and internationally. Janis can be reached at 919-562-2280.
*********** Find more articles like this at http://www.Solo-E.com ? Keeping Solo Entrepreneurs Juiced in Business and in Life. Our team of Solo Entrepreneurs are comprised of small business experts who support others in finding business success with the flexibility and freedom to have a life, too. Network with other freelancers, self-employed and Solo Entrepreneurs in our forums, enjoy our articles and newsletter, and find other online training opportunities. ***********
Outsourcing ? A Positive Approach For Small Businesses
Outsourcing is the strategic use of outside resources to perform activities traditionally handled by internal staff and resources. Small business owners can outsource non-core functions to specialized and efficient service providers. It is required of businesses to hire special contractors for particular types of work or to meet the demands put forth by sudden spurts in the workload. Recently, the trend of partnering with firms whose capabilities complement their own giving them an access to resources that were beyond their individual reach has come up. The difference between simply subcontracting and outsourcing is that outsourcing involves the wholesale restructuring of the corporation around core competencies and outside relationships.
Starting a Small Business? ?Tips from a Veteran
Congratulations, you are starting a small business! You are taking charge and going for your piece of the American dream! Your excitement is high, and the adrenaline is pumping! Everyone dreams of freedom and owning a successful business, but not everyone can successfully create that reality. Now that you've made the commitment to give it a shot, let me give you the single most important tip that I can give you to insure your success. Businesses that succeed whether large or small all begin with a business idea. Your challenge is to determine if your idea will be a winner or a loser.
Speed Kills on the Web!
I only have to point to the 555 plus failed .com companies (according to Web Mergers) as the poster children of the "speed at any cost" business mantra that clearly doesn't work. And these were companies who burnt through significant amounts of capital (in the millions, tens of millions or hundreds of millions in many cases) while they were rushing to get to market.
Pressure Washing Business; Steam Cleaner Fuel Maintenance
It is essential that you fully understand how the fuel system works on your hot water pressure washer or steam cleaner. If you mess it up it could catch on fire and if you are not right there to put it out, you could potentially lose your machine. This type of equipment has been known to explode and Hydrotek out of California actually has a CD Rom video of a machine exploding when a fuel leak is ignited just to show operators what could happen. We recommend the Hydrotek Hot Water Pressure Washers. Some people prefer Landa, but we have tried them all.
How to Give Informative Talks
Why should you do informative talks to smaller groups?
How to become a Career Coach for Profit
A career coach could be simply defined your job seeking partner. A career coach could be a career management coach, who helps you in managing your career or a career marketing coach, who helps you build contacts, posts your resumes, tries to find the best jobs for you and helps you secure the best jobs. He basically tries to market you effectively in the job market.
QSR Quick Service - Fast Food Restaurants Labor Situation in United States
One of the major complaints in the QSR Quick Service-Fast Food Restaurants Industry is the deplorable Labor Situation. In United States teen labor has become somewhat slim on ethical standards, showing up on time, drug use (both recreational and problematic), work ethic and trainability. Who can we blame? Well we can start by blaming ourselves. What happened? Well it is the latch key kid syndrome, lack of school funding and discipline and many other obvious issues. The ages between 17 and 28 the normal ages of employees of Fast Food Restaurants have a lot to be desired in the inherent customer service realm and desirability for employment.
Expand Your Professional Organizer Business
Grow your Professional Organizer business by branching out into related areas. If you have been doing the same old thing for a while, and are comfortable with it, it may be time to stretch your capabilities and offer something new.
Making Your Purpose Your Business Step #2- Getting From Point A to Point B
In my previous article, Step 1, your challenge for the month was to research where your passion lies. Based on your research you might have discovered that self investigation can lead us to two places; either we find out our answer or we realize we need to ask more questions to get that answer.
Franchising in The Middle East There Will Bring Significant Opportunity for US Based Franchisors
As stability emerges in the Middle East there will be significant opportunity for the Franchising Community. Arab Franchising appears to be of interest for those seeking economic growth in much of that region of the World. They are more excited about economic expansion than we are in the US. They seem to understand the benefits of many small businesses employing millions of people and rightfully so. Check out this article:
Not Listening Can Hurt Your Small Business
Most small business owners seek advisors who can help them improve their businesses. They want advice from those who have the experience and really know what they're talking about. But they can only benefit from the sound counsel if they listen to the expert's guidance. Unfortunately, there are some entrepreneurs who aren't going to hear the professionals out or follow a plan no matter what. At that point, experts realize that they might as well save their breath and hope that the business owner will eventually see the error of their ways before it's too late.
Find Some Sample Payroll Check Stubs on the Net for Easy Reference
Starting a business? For many people, the bravery to venture out on your own is the ultimate dream, you're your own boss, you make your own time, and your dreams of making it big in the independent business lives on. But don't forget there are many responsibilities. As the business grows so is the need for manpower. This means salaries to pay and records to make and keep. Maintaining a pleasant working condition is imperative, and nothing makes a disgruntled employee than a spotty payroll check stub. Everyone wants fair compensation and as the owner of the company or at least the accountant, you want to make sure that this followed to the T. Salaries may be given depending on the preference of the company or to the nature of the business. Some provide salary schemes as bi-monthly, monthly or quarterly (every week).
Secrets of Cleaning Truck Trailers in Your Fleet from a Veteran Truck Washer
Cleaning the trailers towed by big trucks is not easy, those big forty-foot to fifty-three foot boxes are quite intimidating up close when you are holding nothing more than a brush and pressure washer gun, looking at a soap bucket. The hardest thing to do is to clean the back doors of trailers because they get really greasy from all the debris and stuff the truck has driven through. When they run through bad weather areas, they get even dirtier. Pay special attention to rear doors on trailers. Sometimes you'll have to brush them twice. You may even have to do them three times until you get them right. Use a harsh soap or degreaser and watch for left over dirt around the tubular bars that act as the door locks and sealing mechanism. Now on the top of the sides of the trailer you'll have lots of soot if you have a tractor that's been leaking or maybe has a small oil leak or an exhaust problem. This leaves this big exhaust stain down the side of the trailer from the exhaust stack on the tractor. This is a problem because it is hard to clean and you need to clean it. So sometimes you will have to stand on top of the tractor and brush downward. This is done because you cannot get enough leverage from the ground. You may need to pour cleaner directly on your brush or you may need to put cleaner directly on the sides of the trailer. You may need to do both. Make sure the brush is really wet and then set the nozzle on the spray bottle for a steady stream. Spray with the wind and shoot the spray up to the top of the trailer and kind of saturate it a little bit. Then brush it. Now it should be able to come clean. Make sure you rinse really well; otherwise you'll have soap streaks running down the sides. These will be black soap streaks because they will have some of the exhaust mixed in with the soap.
Cleaning Service Stations with a Pressure Washer
Fuel prices these days are quite high and they take their toll on a service business. It is time to strike back. If you own a cleaning business that uses pressure washers why not clean service stations and get some of your money back as you pay $2.30 per gallon for fuel? Gas Stations are usually franchises and have cleanliness commitments as part of their franchise agreements with the oil companies they sign on with. This means they have no choice they must keep their gasoline stations spiffy. Currently with unemployment rates so low 5% on average many stations do not have the extra labor needed to keep up with the cleaning.
Does Your Company Have a Business Image Manual
Every business regardless of size needs a "Business Image Manual" to protect their band. Even the smallest companies with only a few employees is well served when there is a business image manual in place. For 15 years I ran a small business, which I eventually franchised and later expanded to 23-states and 4 countries. What I had learned after franchising is that; I should have written my image manual 10-years prior. At first my business was just me alone; like most small businesses, but then due to my hard work and customer service, I had to expand to meet demand. Each time I added people to the team, I seemed to be rehashing over and over again my theories on business image. Often I would have to harp on the issue with part time employees or even summer help. What I needed was a manual. However, being a head strong entrepreneur in those days, I like many entrepreneurs of small businesses said; "What do I need a bunch of manuals or even a business plan for that matter?" After all most of us know our businesses very well and we do not have to write it down. We just know thru intuition what will work and why and surprisingly we end up making few mistakes, but when we do they are usually quite large and costly lessons.
Professional House Cleaning - The Dirty Little Secret
Are you tired yet of all the books out there telling you how easy it is to start a house cleaning business? I'm not inferring that all their information is bad, but let's be honest about how "easy" it really is.
What is Business Process Automation?
Business Process Automation or BPA for short. This was a buzzword a few years back with anyone and everyone claiming they were experts in this area. Maybe so. But to really realize its true potential you need to understand what business process automation is and why you will need it?
Top 10 Record Keeping Mistakes Business Owners Make (and How To Avoid Them)
If you interviewed business owners of failed businesses, a majority will tell you that they didn't understand or feel comfortable dealing with the "book work". Your ability to understand and perform day to day accounting tasks in your small business is a critical success factor. Here are some tips to help you avoid the most common mistakes business owners make.
Small Business Operators - 7 Reasons You Should Change Your Accountant
A recent survey showed that only 28.7% of small business owners were happy with their accountant, and only half of those would recommend him to their friends because he was too busy already.
How Most Business Owners Sabotage Their Success
Owning a business is a challenging endeavor. If you're like many novice small business owners, you've taken numerous risks with your time and your money, only to see all of your efforts producing little or no result. This can leave you frustrated and ready to give up. That's no surprise. The more we focus on the negative parts of owning a small business the more negative results we will attract. Learning how to deal with obstacles is the key to avoiding failure. Those small business owners who never learn to deal with obstacles will often become overwhelmed and end their business. Negative thinking is the center of the small business failure scenario.
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