An alliance is really just a business-to-business collaboration. Some people use the term business networking when referring to alliances. Alliances are formed for many reasons. When you are a small business owner, it’s important to understand that there is a strength that can be utilized by strategic alliances, which may be overlooked in light of developing new business and developing additional revenue streams.
Small business alliances produce great rewards
Alliances between small businesses can offer additional benefits besides an increase in business. For instance, there are alliances of small business owners who proactively approach office supply corporations, internet service providers, health care providers and others on behalf of their membership base in order to secure better rates, additional services, and other benefits as the result of the alliance they’ve formed. There’s strength in numbers when you’re a small business owner, and if there are some products or services that you’re looking for to enhance your business, chances are other small business owners are looking for similar products or services too. Why not form a strategic alliance and approach the product or service provider as a group to show that there is a need? There is a market and that you are aligned in hopes of doing business with large companies who are willing to work with you.
Capitalize upon merged resources
Additionally, small businesses can combine more limited resources in order to appear in more high traffic advertising areas than what each business could afford to do on its own. For instance, one small business networking group decided to participate in a local high traffic tradeshow, on behalf of the businesses that chose to be involved. Using the banner of their combined membership, the group divided and conquered the tradeshow fees and staffing for the event, with each participating company taking a time slot and promoting his or her business, as well as the alliance that they had formed. Not only did the participating members increase visibility and gain new business, the networking group added new members that were unaware of their activities, and thereby increased the strength of the alliance by providing a larger member base to include in negotiations.
Another business group of marketing professionals found strength in forming a strategic alliance amongst themselves in order to offer a more comprehensive service package to large clients than any of the independent businesses was able to offer on their own. While they had to deal with some service crossover, it was determined that the size of the potential contracts outweighed what any one business would give up in revenue if crossover in services did occur. To handle the situation, it was written in the alliance contract that the company who brought the business to the table would have the last say in who would work on each contract and what the final compensation would be in the event of a crossover situation. The business owners were like-minded in that they all agreed to act in the best interest of the alliance’s clients first in order to provide a service level above and beyond the large marketing communications firms with which they were competing. By operating as a virtual team of experts, this alliance was able to increase business for all of the participants; they understood the strength in approaching large clients with a more comprehensive offering than any of them could offer independently. It paid off in the end.
Leverage the strengths of a strategic alliance on behalf of your business and tap into clients and resources you may not have thought previously available.