If you own a small business, you likely understand just how important it is to have good help. Even if you run a one-woman show, no one really succeeds without some form of support; family and friends or even a few paid partners bolster our strengths and often contribute to our success. Here are four partners every small business should cultivate to maximize its profitability and stay ahead of the game:
In order to turn a profit, you need to keep track of your financials. Even impressive sales of the best product or service can’t overcome extravagant spending or bad bookkeeping. A trusted accountant or financial advisor can help you maintain your books and make healthy financial decisions so that your bottom line remains firmly in the black.
Ask most successful business owners how they built a successful brand, and they’ll probably tell you they started with a mentor. Some of the world’s most successful business people — Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg, for example —not only say their mentors inspired them to dream big, but believe that their mentors were instrumental in sharing valuable skills that helped lead them to success. Mentors can come in a variety of forms; they can be a teacher, former colleague or friend. They can be a familiar confidante or a relatively new acquaintance; old or young; trained or not. But the one thing they all have in common is experience. Mentors know a lot and are willing to share it. Every small business owner can benefit from that.
Communications Supply Partner
Every business is going to have communications needs. It can start and end with the need for someone to print business cards and/or signage, or it can incorporate larger demand for other communications-related services such as mass copying and printing, cyber security and IT solutions. At minimum, a good copier or sign company is vital for businesses that rely on quality communications; and isn’t that all businesses?! Copiers and sign companies are often responsible for the first material your customers see from you: your business card and the sign outside your door. From there, depending on the industry and size of your company, you might be well-served to partner with an integrated business solutions partner that can provide a wider range of services so that you can better track and coordinate your marketing and promotional materials.
Advertising can be important for any business, but there’s really no substitute for word-of-mouth referrals. Would-be customers like having verification of your company’s value from third-party sources; it authenticates your product or service while simultaneously validating their interest. And the good news is this: it doesn’t cost much (if anything) to partner with a brand ambassador — just a perk or two — and any satisfied client or previous customer can become one. It’s an easy and low-cost way for you to promote your business and increase sales without having to spend a dime!
There’s little doubt that companies can benefit from relationships with the right kind of partners. Can you think of any others?