There are 3 types of businesses that need to do more collaborations:
- Those with no audience need to collaborate with other new businesses to clarify message, products, and their position in the market.
- Those with a small audience need to collaborate to further grow their audience or create new products.
- Those with a big audience need to collaborate to increase their sales.
Which of the above are you? I will soon be teaching a course on simple & authentic collaborations. In the rest of this blog post, I’ll talk about these three types of collaborations….
No Audience Yet?
Without an audience yet, you are probably still working on clarifying your message and your offerings (your services and products).
For you, here is how I would recommend collaborating:
- Get together with other new and aspiring businesses. Start by asking your friends: post on social media, asking if anyone is also starting a business, or in an early stage. You can also find entrepreneurs in Facebook groups, and in the comments area of some Facebook pages like mine: George Kao Authentic Business Coach on Facebook.
- See if anyone would like to have a virtual chat to help clarify and strengthen each other’s marketing message and offerings.
- Schedule to talk for 30-60 minutes, depending on what you/they have time for. Split the call in half, for each person’s business.
- The format of the conversation can simply be this — (1) Who might my ideal client be? (2) What is my message to them? (3) What do I offer in terms of a service or product to help them?
- The other person gives feedback on what’s clear, what’s confusing, and any suggestions they may have.
This simple collaboration gives you practice in sharing your marketing message and talking about your offerings, and may give you some great suggestions to improve it.
It gives you someone to bounce your ideas off of, to see whether it sounds on track or needs a lot more work.
This also gets you connected to other supportive entrepreneurs who will in the future have an audience. You will both grow in the next few months and years, and may then collaborate again!
Even without an audience, you can also collaborate with those who already have an audience, and I’ll talk more about this in the Authentic JV / collaborations course.
In fact, collaboration is how I grew my business from zero to $10,000/month within the first year. As everyone does, I started with no audience at all.
Got a Small Audience?
How will you grow it? Creating consistent content is a great idea, but you still need to distribute that content so enough of the right people see it. What’s your plan?
As you might know, I recommend and teach a course on Facebook Ads. It’s probably the easiest way to distribute content.
The other way I often recommend is to do collaborations with other small-audience entrepreneurs to grow together. (In the Authentic JV / collaborations course I’ll also discuss how you can reach out to those with a larger audience than you.)
There are various kinds of partnerships for small audiences, but let me describe a simple way of doing it: trade interviews with each other.
- Find another small-audience entrepreneur. Post on your social media: “Does anyone have a bit of an audience, and would like to grow it together?” You can also network in entrepreneur Facebook groups and notice the commenters in the entrepreneurial Facebook pages like mine.
- To see if you’re compatible with potential partners, look at audience size and type. If they have 50-150% of your audience size, it’s good enough to collaborate. For example, you have 200 email subscribers, and they have between 100-400. Whether it’s email subscribers or Facebook fans, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Also compare audience type — what kinds of people are in their audience?
- Also take a look at their content: is it something that your audience might enjoy as well? Be less judgmental, more open-minded. It’s good for audiences to be introduced to a variety of personalities and philosophies, even if you don’t agree with them 100% on everything.
- Schedule 1 hour, splitting the time in half. You’ll record the portion where you interview them, so you can share it with your audience. They should record the portion where they interview you, to share with their audience.
That’s the simplest way to collaborate to grow audiences together.
Doing these collaborations also helps you, over time, to see where you are positioned in the market, in relation to other businesses.
Collaborations are so helpful that I recommend looking at your schedule each week: “Do I have a collaboration scheduled this week? If not, I need to spend some time to seek one!”
With a big audience, you already know that collaborations are gold.
At this stage, you also know that your own audience will only buy your stuff for a while before they need a break. And you also know that they enjoy hearing about other businesses too.
Collaborate with other businesses with a larger audience like you, to cross-promote each other’s services and products.
In the Simple JV / collaborations course we will have a course directory of students, with indicators of audience size, so that you can easily find potential partnerships with compatible allies.
Whether you have no audience, small or big audience, I hope you’ll join us. Let’s create a culture where supportive collaboration is the norm!
This post was previously published on George Kao and is republished here with permission from the author.
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