How partnerships can improve your small business

To establish their brands, entrepreneurs face many challenges. Instead of going by the book, consider these approaches to teaming up with other players in your niche.

To expand your network and increase sales, it’s important to work with established partners.

Some potential partners will offer a similar personality and approach; others will be vastly different in their education or experience.

Here are a few things to consider when selecting a partner:

Seek those who are like-minded, but be judicious.

People with common goals often want to work together. Because they think in similar capacities, they don’t have much conflict and business operations tend to be smooth.

Be wary of partnering with “yes people,” though. You might miss out on different insights that could be key in getting your brand off the ground.

Consider the “opposites attract” approach.

To round out your strengths, it’s important to team up with those who offer something different.

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Although that can lead to an exciting partnership, you must expect the possibility of not being in tandem. If you can’t agree on a shared vision or set of goals, you probably won’t make much progress.

Choose partners with complementary skills.

Be willing to admit your shortcomings. Do you have social media skills but lack marketing insight?

Team up with someone who can fill any holes in your repertoire. For example, a small business might have a silent partner who remains in the background to offer advice and feedback. The other partner might handle more of the day-to-day operations and be the more active one in the duo. Together, they make a more productive team.

Look within your community.

Small-business owners must understand the benefits of garnering local support. To expand your niche, consider forming a board of directors that includes community members.

The saying, “Two heads are better than one,” serves a useful purpose in the PR and marketing world. Focus on choosing the right partners to improve your chances of succeeding.

Emma Sturgis is a Boston-based freelance writer with a focus on graduate education. Follow her on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2.

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