Yesterday, I wrote about the personal connections small busienss owners need, with peers who challenge and encourage you to do more, do bigger and do better.  Today,  I thought I would look at the other types of relationships a successful small busienss owner needs.

No Matter How Complete Your Business, You are Not a One Stop Shop

Your customer, has needs beyond what you can provide. Understanding those other needs may lead you to cross promotion opportunities with strategic partners in your circle!     As you think about your target customer, think about other products and services they purchase on a regular basis. The providers of those products and services can be ideal strategic partners for your company.

As a small business consultant, I surround myself with other professionals who offer services my customers needs. The group includes an accountant, lawyer, printer, computer expert and human resource professional.  I make time to meet with these key individuals on a regular base, and frequently exchange referrals or share clients.

Competitors in Your Inner Circle
In addition to these complementary services, I have a number of marketing professionals, web service and social media consultants  who compete with me in one or more areas of my business, who I consider part of my inner circle as well. Why???

  • Capacity! – If I get overloaded (or if they do) we pass projects back and forth. There are times a client is a better fit with someone else because of their style or specific talent. In either case, I want to refer them to someone I trust if I can not complete the project myself.
  • Complementary Services – As my business has grown, I have focused more and more on the things we do best, and I outsource the things which add value, but take us too long to do.

Building Your Circle
Building a solid business circle takes time. Make time for your strategic partners. Stay in touch with your partners through emails, phone calls and the occasional face-to-face. Find out what is new in their business and share what is new in yours. The more you know about each other, the easier it is to share clients.