You built your business from the ground up. Just you, your savings account and a whole lot of faith in your dream. Building a profitable business with minimal resources is tough. But you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps. Take a second to parade around your home office or storefront because you deserve it.
Now it’s time for the next step. It’s time to start thinking about scaling. Let’s discuss snagging partners who can invest in your small business.
Your customers are vital to the success of your company, but an investor will be your key to growth. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you build strong and transparent relationships with the investors you’ll soon end up doing business with.
Landing the perfect partner takes time — from seeking them out, getting buy-in and negotiating terms. It’s enough to send any small business owner’s head reeling. Remember it’s time and effort well spent for the sake of scaling your business.
Helpmate, not Hypeman
Have you ever found yourself at a concert or watching a performance and wondered “do we honestly need the uncoordinated hypeman on stage?” Not saying that Flavor Flav didn’t serve a purpose, because he’s iconic.
What I mean is, when the performer is great, everyone on stage needs to match that energy. The same goes for any partner you attach to your business.
When you’re seeking out a potential partner, it’s hard not to shoot straight for the biggest name. Ask yourself: Will this person match my company’s energy? Will they invest their time, resources and effort into catapulting my business even further than it is. Or are they just here to put their name on it, and maybe make a few demands?
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking smaller, less prominent businesses. You’re thinking strategically, remember? Find a partner with the same drive and innovative mindset.
Solidifying these budding companies will provide creditability for future partnerships and the opportunity to correct any issues in a less-risky environment.
Poor reasons to seek partnership:
- Fear of going solo. If you don’t have confidence in yourself and your business, avoid bringing anyone else in until you do.
- Lack of skillset. Just because you can’t do a certain task, doesn’t mean you need to form a partnership. Hire someone onto your team or outsource that job.
- Low financing. If you don’t have the money to run your business, bringing someone in for the sake of funding is a recipe for disaster. There’s sure to be a power struggle along the way and resentment if it tanks.
Even though it’s easier to hop on your laptop to make an introduction, sometimes emails can be a bad idea. The receiver may be swimming in emails and accidentally overlook yours or maybe the Spam Folder blocks you from ever making contact.
Whenever possible, use your current network to make a warm introduction. Check out the LinkedIn profile of the person you’d like to connect with and see if there are any mutual contacts between you.
Is there a friend, family member or someone you can seek out to personally introduce you, whether that’s over the phone or Zoom or a local gathering. It provides an added level of credibility before you even get to make your pitch.
When the time comes for you to sell yourself and your business, you can’t afford to improvise. Having a well-practiced pitch is amazing but, as they say, seeing is believing. If you have your actual product, show it in action.
If you don’t have a product, then give them a walk-through of your services. It allows your potential new partner to see your vision better and it shows just how dedicated you are.
When time is tight, it always helps to have a 15 to 30-second elevator pitch prepared just in case.
If potential partners seem unsure about taking a chance on your business, tap into FOMO, or the fear of missing out. Remind them that there are several advantages to being a partner at the ground level. Shamelessly use that information as leverage.
This is a long process, so remember to be patient when seeking out partnerships, and in the meantime, be your own support system. If you don’t believe in your company no one will.