You Can Make Arrangements For Profit
A lot of times in the small business owner’s (SBO) world there is confusion. And I think part of it stems from the language we use, or try to use.
It’s all very innocent because many SBOs decide to start a business because they are good at something. On occasion someone will be good at business and seek a business to own – of any kind that will be profitable. But usually it doesn’t work that way. As a business coach, I see that that majority of SBOs are technicians learning to run a business.
As SBOs meet and make friends with other SBOs, they start trying to figure out how to work together to benefit both of their businesses. Some people call these joint ventures or partnerships. The Guerrilla Marketing guy (Jay Conrad Levinson) calls them Fusion Arrangements. And when they use those arrangements for marketing, he calls it Fusion Marketing.
These arrangements can be very good for your business:
- Promotion to an audience that is your target market
- Shared costs if advertising
- No cost if promotions are handled ‘in kind’ – I’ll put up a sign for you in my business if you will put up a sign for me in yours
- Customer referrals
‘Arrangements’ like these have been in practice for a long, long time. They work very well if both SBOs share a couple of core elements:
- Similar Target Markets and Ideal Customers
- Values (quality of work and business ethics)
- Like Goals (both are actively seeking new customers, for instance)
When these elements are not aligned, problems usually arise and customers can get caught in the middle. When that happens, one or both of the businesses suffer, too.
That means that not all businesses are good matches for these arrangements. In fact, your very best SBO friend may be in a business that will not relate or connect for a profitable fusion arrangement. Or, his business may be at a different level and he has to adjust for scalability and just isn’t ready to grow more right now. You know, that’s okay. Find another way to work together, perhaps in a civic organization.
Be on the lookout for businesses that complement yours and that also serve the clients you want. It helps you get to that market faster than starting from scratch. Just be sure that the core elements are shared by both and you know you can rely on the performance of the other SBO and their business.
Another important aspect of developing a fusion arrangement is to have clarity in actions and responsibilities. Simply, who will do what? Lay that out, and be clear about the plan and timelines, too.
Initially it might seem like more work, but as the arrangement starts rolling, it can produce great results. Do it right and it will certainly pay off.
To Your Success!