When you are just getting started in your creative business, getting the word out about what you do can seem like an insurmountable challenge. One way to let other people know about your business quickly is to partner with other more established businesses.
There are two main ways of working with people: joint ventures and strategic alliances. A joint venture is a collaboration between two companies (or people), where both receive some type of benefit. Ideally, each person gains in one way or another. It might involve something simple like a referral where you get a percentage of a sale, such as with an online affiliate arrangement.
Basically with a joint venture, someone promotes a product or a service and in exchange receives a cut of the money. No matter how the arrangement is structured, with a joint venture, both people must see some type of gain or a benefit. The difference between a joint venture and strategic alliance is that a strategic alliance is more of a long-term arrangement between companies.
For example, a graphic designer might set up a strategic alliance with printer or PR firm where the printer uses the designer as a resource. These types of arrangements can go on for many years.
To find possible partners, brainstorm a few ideas and then start doing research. Look online and visit Web sites of people or businesses who have compatible products or services. These are your potential joint venture opportunities. Another way to find partners is to attend networking events. When you are doing your research such as visiting a website or talking to the person, try to see if you can learn what their goals are. Try to answer these questions:
- What products do they offer now?
- What new services or products are they working on?
- Is there any way your products and services can fit into that matrix?
The goal is to create some type of “win-win” arrangement, so both parties benefit. For example, as a graphic designer, you may notice that there is a Web designer in town with a lot of clients. Maybe she has clients who need brochures as well. Perhaps you could partner on a “New Business Identity Package” package deal where you both do the work. You share the costs of advertising the new program, and you both get new work.
Be sure to screen your potential joint venture partners carefully before you approach them. With a little advance planning and creativity, partnerships can be a great way to launch your business to the next level.