What is Business Collaboration?
Did you know that only 8% of companies today feel that their current business model is viable? This startlingly low percentage makes sense once you take into account the impact of collaboration on business activity.
Businesses worldwide are expanding in every aspect of their operations as they seek to reach a broader consumer base or offer more services. This applies to your home service business, too!
As you seek to grow and increase your business’s reach, using a collaborative approach to your business operations can make a significant difference.
Business collaboration involves creating impactful connections with internal and external parties to further your small business’s goals. Effective collaboration often consists of project management tools and the adoption of a teamwork approach to getting things done.
In this article, we’ll learn more about the different types of collaboration and the success it can bring to your business.
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The 4 Main Types of Business Collaboration
There are four basic collaboration styles for you to know.
1. Alliance: This is where two independent firms come together as collaborators, agreeing to share their resources to further their business goals. Reasons to opt for an alliance include increasing business know-how and access to information and customer bases that otherwise won’t be available. An alliance also allows you to tap into new markets or new technologies and to serve your existing ones better! For example, a restoration contractor (such as a roofer) might form a strategic alliance with an insurance agent and exchange referrals and appropriate data to help one another grow.
2. Portfolio: This involves making the best of the experience and knowledge gained from an alliance and incorporating it into your own business’s best practices. For example, a plumber might partner with an electrician and get access to a supply network they didn’t have before. After the partnership ends, they can sustain their own business connections with this network, helping it further their own goals.
3. Innovation network: When team collaboration efforts grow past the limit of two independent firms, an innovation network is established. This involves a group of firms that come together through collaboration tools to share their own research, resources, and tools in a shared workspace. Networks focus on the collective harmony and long-term survival of all the businesses involved. This can be in the form of joining a trade-specific network or association such as the National Roofing Contractors Association, or joining a Facebook Group with other businesses in your trade.
4. Ecosystem: Imagine a greater degree of collaboration that includes connections between multiple networks themselves. That is where an ecosystem comes in. Ecosystems operate as a network of networks composed of various stakeholders (sometimes even including customers) that work together to fulfill a shared vision! As a home service business, your local chamber of commerce can be an example of an ecosystem to tap into and connect with several networks.
How Business Collaboration Helps Your Business Grow
Business collaboration is more than just a simple partnership. It can help scale your business and take it to new heights, achieving your existing goals and evolving your business roadmap with it.
Here’s what your business stands to gain from collaboration:
- Collaboration helps your business gain fresh ideas and inspiration: This can lead to the development of new products or services that will improve your business’s efficiency and help maintain profitability while expanding your options.
- Collaboration builds your network and opportunity for referrals: Building strong connections with other businesses in your network will help you increase your chances of referrals. Your network can also provide insight and even find solutions to problems that you’re experiencing personally or running into professionally.
- Collaboration is educational and keeps your business ahead of the trends: By collaborating with your peers and other businesses, you become a part of a much bigger picture that is the small business ecosystem. You get to experience in real-time the trends and business applications of strategies from potential partners (for example, in their product development). You’re also exposed to different skill sets from industry professionals. It’s a win-win opportunity for your business!
- Collaboration helps your business solve critical problems: Today, there are millions of small businesses in the world. Each of these businesses is fighting hard to grow and thrive. Collaboration among businesses can help them achieve their goals. When you collaborate with other businesses, you can solve complex problems, get access to more resources, reach new potential customers, and increase sales.
What to Look For in Business Collaborations and Partnerships
When collaborating with other businesses, you will need to take each aspect of your partnership into consideration. Below are some factors to consider as you look for new business opportunities or joint ventures:
- A common goal: Collaboration is all about working together with other like-minded partners to fulfill a vision you both share. You probably won’t hear about a partnership between a plumber and a pharmaceutical company. But a local business alliance among plumbers, electricians, roofers, and other home-service providers? That’s much more likely!
- Shared values: For many small businesses, the growth of their business is not entirely dependent on increased demand from existing customers. Many business owners want to partner with others with similar values to theirs (e.g., the way they treat their customers and employees, their ethics, and more!). Partnering with a business with similar values will allow you to grow your network by offering the things you are already doing differently, complementary to your partner’s strategies.
- Similar business culture: As small and local business owners, being on the same page with your collaboration partners is key to a successful relationship. This is especially true in any decision-making stages. You have to make sure that they are aligned with you from a business culture perspective.
- The right communication channels and tools: Did you know that up to 80% of businesses use social collaboration tools? Business collaboration is done through a variety of channels, including webinars, messaging on platforms like Slack, video conferencing, and even phone calls. Finding out which medium and platform team members are comfortable with is essential so that your communication quality doesn’t suffer in the long run.
- Mutual trust: As a business owner, it’s critical to trust your business partner. If business relationships are rooted in real values, they can be the foundation for a successful partnership.
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Collaborate and Boost Your Business with Signpost
Business collaboration is more than a buzzword.
Even when you have a clear idea of how you want your business to grow, the path to achieve your goals can be murky. That’s why it’s important to understand that by collaborating with the right businesses, you can achieve more than you’d ever thought possible.
Today, it’s necessary for your business to have a competitive advantage in a modern economy defined by growing customer expectations.
That’s why we’re here to help!
Leverage Signpost as a tool to be the hub for all marketing-related activities for your home service business. Through our help, you can manage your sales and payments, marketing, and customer support!
We give you the tools to make managing your business simple, so you can focus on being the best at what you do.
Get started with us today!