Who do I collaborate with?

Collaborations are all the rave now. Why? Because we are realizing more and more that you do not have to grow your business alone. According to the Business Dictionary, a collaboration is ‘Cooperative arrangement in which two or more parties (which may or may not have any previous relationship) work jointly towards a common goal.’

There are millions of people who want to buy from you  and a great way to get in front of them is to collaborate with somebody who has the same ideal client but is offering a complimentary service. Examples include hairdressers and nail techs, bakers and event planners to name just a few, but many times it does not work out as we expected. There is a reason we are getting collaborations wrong and I want to walk you through how to make it work

1. When you are not clear about what the collaborations looks like

This is the most common mistake. Time and time again I see entrepreneurs announce that they want to collaborate with other business owners but they are not clear about how the collaboration will look or feel. They do not have a clear understanding of who will be doing the work and the expected outcome.

There is the belief that once the next entrepreneur has clients and is offering a complimentary service then they are the best persons to collaborate with. The truth is, if you are looking for someone to collaborate with, you need to do your homework. Some questions to consider are

  • who are their ideal clients
  • how successful and busy are their own businesses
  • have they collaborated with anybody before
  • how visible are they
  • do their vision, mission and ethics in alignment with your business

Because so many entrepreneurs do not think about these questions they end up in disastrous collaborations and loose a ton of money, time and resources in the process.

contracts- olu-eletu-15018

2. You have no contract

One of the biggest mis-steps entrepreneurs make when going into any collaborative agreement. Even if it is a one page contract which identifies

  • what is the overall goal of the collaboration
  • each persons role in the collaboration,
  • how money will be spent and distributed,
  • how long the collaboration will be engaged,
  • how the success of the collaboration will be measured and
  • how will the collaboration be promoted!

Having no contract leaves your collaboration open to failure because expectations are not clearly defined.

3. Lack of communication

This is when the collaboration is finalised. Entrepreneurs tend to just walk away and expect things to fall into place. But actually this is when you have to keep in contact with your collaborator because as you start to promote the collaboration, things may have to be tweaked, twisted and turned to make sure you are really hitting your targets. It is not a drop it and they will come scenario. Keep lines of communication open throughout the life of the collaboration and decide what day and time of the week you will be checking in to give updates etc.

Collaborations are a great way to grow your business fast but like with anything else in business, it must be done with a strategic plan in mind and not willy nilly.

Do you have any successful collaboration stories? Or do you want help in deciding how to find someone to collaborate with? Post your comments below and let’s keep this conversation going!

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