The business landscape in North Carolina is as diverse as our communities. As a small business owner, you may face challenges to access needed resources for business development, networking, and marketing – all essential to the future of your business. A strategic partnership can help unlock ways to accelerate growth for your small business.
Your business efforts are a significant part of the North Carolina economy. Small businesses make up 99.6 percent of all businesses in North Carolina and employ 1.7 million people. Combined with our national rankings as a Top State for Business, you are well-positioned to establish a business and have success here.
Modern and Strategic
There are many types of partnerships designed for specific goals and business situations. When you hear the word partnership, what do you think of? A 50-50 contract or revenue sharing? When we talk about partnerships, we mean strategic partnerships that are designed to help your business grow. It’s more of an 80-20 split. That means the goal of the partnership is to help you (80 percent) and help the partner (20 percent). These strategic partnerships give you needed resources and business connections with goodwill built in.
For many small businesses, partnerships may begin at a traditional bank or small business organization. Those can be helpful, but as Chris Temple, VP of Member Engagement at Civic Federal Credit Union points out: “Banks bank you.” Fees are typically higher at traditional banks for small business accounts versus those for individuals. Shareholders are the focus of traditional banks. “The credit union model is very much the opposite,” he continued. “We focus on helping our members.”
Modern partnerships also prioritize any purpose-driven goals that may be part of your mission and vision. In any partnership decision, these should remain an important factor. Having the right people around you who are aligned with your vision, mission, and purpose is essential. When businesses and partners are in sync, there are few things that cannot be accomplished. So while an effective strategic partnership can help your small business, it can also accelerate existing programs in your community that serve people in-need.
LaunchPad for Growth
When thinking about a partnership for your small business, there may be more questions than answers. Here are 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Strategic Partnerships and how they can help your business to thrive.
- Elevates Your Brand: Partnering with an established organization in good-standing can help broaden the credibility and reach of your small business. By having a partnership in place, your business is associated with a respected brand and good name. “This can expand your reach to prospects and help identify new places to market your business,” said Chris Temple. It is recommended to be thorough in your due diligence efforts.
- Saves You Money: The small business mindset puts an emphasis on spending wisely and leveraging existing resources whenever possible. “It’s addition by subtraction,” said Temple. The more you can save the better, from banking fees to product manufacturing or service vendors. There are opportunities to save money and improve your customer’s experience by choosing partners with low-cost merchant services and low financing rates.
- Amplifies Your Voice: There can be opportunities for strategic partners to include your small business in their stories of impact. “When the pandemic hit, many small businesses had to either pivot fast or figure out how to handle a sudden increase in business,” said Temple. Partners that share those types of stories can help amplify the voice of your business.
- Gives Your Products Visibility: Effective partnerships will use and showcase your products or services to others. “We created a member box for fire chiefs across North Carolina as part of our Torque and Pork Contest campaign. We purchased spice rubs from one of our members to include in every box,” shared Temple. “Not only did we buy them, we put their product in front of nearly 100 prospective buyers – all the while being attached to our brand.”
- Makes Connections: Networking is key to success. It can be difficult to spend the necessary time on it when you are running a small business. Effective strategic partners bring you in to their small business eco-system and connect you to others. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” said Temple. “There may be businesses in our network that need your services or could benefit from a conversation with you,” continued Temple. “It’s this type of strategic networking that can open doors for our members and add value to their businesses.”
Strategic partnerships provide a range of needed resources to small businesses which might not otherwise be available. These include increased visibility, new connections and money-saving relationships that can help transform your business.
Disclaimer: You + Money blog posts are provided for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of a financial, legal or accounting advisor.