I belong to a chapter of BNI – Business Network International. Â This group is a great source of business, friendship, ideas and a place to talk to other entrepreneurs. Â Love that! Â But what really hit home for me recently was talking to a competitor. Â She asked how I can offer solutions in marketing and social media, planning, hiring and technology and I explained my background. Then she asked what I do when a small business needs something outside my expertise. Â I explained I have partners that handle the other aspects of business that I can’t. Â As we talked, I realized how amazing that really is. Â Need a bookkeeper? Â Got one! Â Need promotional materials? Â I know the people to call! Â Need to set up solid retirement strategies for yourself and employees? Â No problem! Â Need insurance so if something happens to a principle in the company everyone is okay? Done. Â You get the picture. Â And since I have done business with them and know many others who have, I can confidently recommend them to my clients and know they will get top-notch service. Â Perfect!
So what can’t you offer that your clients need? Â What areas would be great to have someone to refer to and have them refer business your way? Â It is always important to narrow your offering to be easy to explain and allow you to deliver consistently. Â Now, it is time to think about what areasyou haven’t covered. A solid partner who understands the value of what you do and how it fits together with what they do is invaluable and when you hand off that client, you know they will come back.
Once you figure out the area(s) you could use a partner, you need to find one. Â Keep in mind this is going to be someone you refer clients to so spend some serious time talking to their sales team, understanding what they offer and make sure you are comfortable. Â If they offer a demo, be sure to go through it and fully understand. Â Then, do an experiment – referr only one person and closely track the progress with your client. Â I have known some people who have split the cost with their client to test out a service.
Once you have this established, you get the benefits of knowing where clients are going for those services, you appear bigger than you are since you made the referral, your clients will begin to see you as a one-stop-shop which can be invaluable as you grow your business, and you get to know what’s going on in multiple industries. Â Partners can Â be a huge strength and seriously help grow your business.