Collaborative Working To Grow Your Start-Up
More people are growing online businesses and working freelance than ever before. This article explains the benefits of collaborative working.
Running your own business requires you to wear more hats, HR, finance, advertising. You can suddenly find yourself trying to negotiate an SEO contract – an area you do not have much experience in. Collaboration can be a highly efficient way to develop yourself and your business particularly in the early stages of starting up.When we asked our members what their biggest challenge was when starting up their business, loneliness was a common answer. Many mothers were used to going to a busy workplace and this often makes it hard to adjust to a life were you have to focus on your business without the input, feedback and ideas that someone else can bring.
Here are some reasons to consider collaborative working today:
When we need work doing for our company we usually result to paying for someone’s services. When you need your annual accounts doing you might pay for an accountant or when you need a new flyer or logo designing you look for a designer. However you can offer to exchange the skills you have acquired with another company in exchange for a service.
One of our members Rachel Gully a freelance social media consultant worked together with Kate Molloy a freelance graphic designer. They got in touch via the Mum Plus Business Collaborate program and worked together on a free ebook: ‘The guide to social media’. They maximised their skills to make a better end product without the need to spend money by joining forces for this project. If you recognise that there is a specific gap in your company, think creatively how you may fill this. Your own experience and skills can make a compelling offer that you can offer in exchange for what you need.
Broaden your offering
Your current range of services may be great, but only appeal to a small audience. By appealing to a larger group of people, you have a much higher chance of gaining new customers and selling your services or product. If a supermarket only sold milk and sugar it would not last very long. Teaming up with other companies and brands can benefit both businesses. This can be a formal business relationship, or even white labelling another offering. One example I’ve seen is an online fashion store who wanted to add a personalised ranger but these were expensive to produce. By teaming up with a maker of handmade jewellery and accessories, they were able to offer premium, personalised handbags and clothes without spending any money up front on stock. By offering personalised t-shirts and bags, they were also able to set themselves apart from the competition by being more unique. The key to developing strong relationships is to find companies with shared goals, where together you are stronger than by yourself. The other wonderful side effect of working with new, motivated people on shared objectives, is that you become more motivated, learn more and gain more experience.
Create more value
Maybe you are an accountant, run your own fashion store or design company. Whatever it may be, you can increase your value by improving your offering. Add an industry specific blog to your website, create an engaging fan page, create a monthly newsletter. All of these are great ways to boost the community around your products or services and add value to your sector. You can invite CEO’s, distributers and customers to contribute to your blog, newsletter or fan page adding helpful advice and comments. Not only does this bring in more traffic, and boost your SEO but you also gain important feedback from customers to further improve your offering. Make sure that what you offer genuinely helps your audience and s useful as opposed to boring, self-promotional content that adds little value.
If you are still unsure about areas to collaborate on, you can always try talking to other parties and see what comes out of these discussions. Some of the best ideas you may stumble across will probably not be areas you planned at the beginning. Have an open mind and talk to as many people as possible to increase the chances of your success.