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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 10 August 2020
  • Kayla Meier

How to Successfully Partner with Other Small Businesses

Partnering with another small business is a smart way to help your business and your network grow. You can gain new customers, establish new marketing methods and enhance your profile in the community. And when you partner successfully, you can help provide another small business with those opportunities as well. Establishing the right partnership can be challenging and rewarding, so we outlined some tips to help you get started.

Find your fit

Partnering with another small business is not a one-way street. Seek out a partner whose business complements yours and vice versa. For instance, if you own a coffee shop, consider partnering with a local ceramics company and stocking their mugs. Fans of the ceramics company will now have a reason to visit your café while your regulars will be introduced to a new product by a trusted source. Show your potential collaborator how your partnership will be mutually beneficial, and you will be well on your way to shared success.


Be choosy

Not all potential partnerships will be right for your small business. Assess your prospective partner’s customer profile, brand perception and financials, and make sure they align with your business’s brand and objectives. Shortcomings might not always be apparent. Besure to do your research before approaching another small business and stay diligent as you establish a relationship. Do not be afraid to walk away if it is not a match.

Set your goals

Finding the right partner is just the beginning. Take the time to outline the goals, objectives and structure of your partnership before jumping in. What are the targets for your small business? Are you looking to grow your customer base? Offer a new product or service? Adopt a new marketing strategy? Put your goals to paper along with your partner’s, and create a plan for how you will accomplish them together. Draft a written partnership agreement that details the partnership structure, compensation, processes and restrictions. A written, legally binding agreement will help you avoid disputes and promote accountability.

Communicate openly

As with any business venture, communication is key. Make sure to prioritize honesty and transparency as you build your relationship with your partner. Maintain open lines of communication, and nurture the partnership by reviewing your successes and failures together. A long-term collaboration comes with its fair share of ups, downs and challenges. By being honest and straightforward with each other, you and your partner will gain new insights into your small businesses and identify more opportunities to grow.

Promote the partnership

Tell your customers about your collaborations with other small businesses and what that means for them. Whether you want to get the word out with a large poster for your window, referral cards for checkout or a direct mail campaign, the printing experts at The UPS Store have you covered. You can also create announcement posts for your small business’s social media pages and tag your partner. Then have your partner do the same for you.

Partnerships offer many opportunities to successfully expand your small business. Look for chances to get creative and collaborative with other small businesses. You might be surprised by what you learn and by the relationships you form during the process. As long as you are upfront and honest with your partner and specific about your expectations, each of your small businesses should reap the rewards.

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