Meeting a fellow business owner who knows, loves, and trusts you and your services enough to shout naked from the rooftops with a megaphone about how amazing you and your business are is cool.
Okay, maybe not naked.
Really, though, get excited about what a business relationship or partnership can do for you. I want to create some curiosity and inspiration about ways you’ve heard certain terms described, and possible ways those definitions limit you and your business growth.
From Wikipedia: A joint venture (JV) is a business entity created by two or more parties, generally characterized by shared ownership, shared returns and risks, and shared governance.
I’m not talking about JV partnerships today.
They are like marriage — you must be very careful who you partner with, making sure communication is a top priority for everyone involved. Even then, this is “work” and it takes willing partners with a continued commitment to succeed. A JV venture is not for everyone.
Affiliate partner: Your partner shares your offerings with their audience and receives an affiliate commission for that referral.
I could be talking about affiliate partners today. I love these relationships when I truly am already shouting naked from the rooftops about my friends, and end up getting a little sumthin for it. Affiliate income is a real, amazing way to increase your bank account. But for now, let’s leave the money out of this, because it complicates things sometimes.
Other kinds of business collaborations and partnerships: Relationships you build with fellow business owners that help each of you grow your business. Partners usually serve similar audiences and can add great value to their partner’s offerings with theirs.
This is what I want to talk about today!
There’s so much opportunity for business owners to get to know each other at the next level and create powerful, reciprocal relationships. I hear and read so many things about “endless referrals” and “lead generation” that it keeps my head spinning in shoulds and supposed-tos. I don’t like spinning like that, unless I have a fancy red party dress on.
What about getting to know your current business colleagues at the next level? What if you could take a good relationship and make it outstanding? What would that look like?
What if people went from networking, to relationships, to friendships, to “family?” Ooh, some of you are thinking: that’s not professional. Well, you’re missing out. It’s time to bust the paradigm and actually start caring about people you work with.
Building better and more authentic business partnerships with people you actually know (like more than what they do) is badass. Creating friendships with people who serve your audience means the two of you can do more for those people, change more lives, and create a bigger ripple in the world.
Do you think not knowing someone at the next level (otherwise known as “keeping it professional”) will keep things from deteriorating?
What if treating your business colleagues as friends and understanding their lives at another level helped them trust you to be their go-to when it comes to introductions and referrals?
Yeah, I pick taking things to the next level. I pick being a little more vulnerable and leading with my heart most days.
My friend Melissa Henry does brand photography. Except she does this with a coaching twist unlike anyone else. She’ll give you a marvelous headshot, but what she does is strategize photos you can use that tell the story of the authentic you, your business, and your passion. Melissa knows how to get to the next layer of awesome when it comes to photos.
I can’t stop using the photos Melissa did for me. I love them. I’m proud of them. They are ME! Here’s one I love:
When someone helps you be yourself, you fall in love with them. Melissa is my friend, and I care about her and her family. I think about her daughter every week during our early morning networking meeting, and how she’s probably trying to be a mom in the middle of it all.
I love shouting naked from the rooftops about Melissa and her services. They are excellent. They’re helping people do good things. Melissa serves my audience (wellness author business owners). I am SUPER happy to share her stuff with my crowd because I know if they hire Melissa, more goodness is moving into the world.
Melissa and I have a great reciprocal business friendship. When she comes across a wellness professional that wants to write for one of our books, she knows I’m her gal. There is trust. There’s an understanding that our shared clients are going to be taken care of.
Having one or two people on my “team” like Melissa is a game changer for my business. As I am for hers.
Here’s another one of my faves:
I thought about this recently when someone told me they were looking for newer groups to network in. While I love meeting new people, I also know the value of having the fifth or sixth (or tenth) conversation with someone I’ve known for a couple years.
I want you to get curious about the people you already network with. How can you get to know them at another level? What do you need to know about them? What, maybe, don’t you know? It’s going to be in the continued effort to get to know someone where you’ll find the golden nuggets of info that take your relationship (and business opportunities) to another level.
Here are some questions I love to ask myself when I’m networking to decide if someone is going to be worth the time, energy, and effort it takes to create something next-level:
- Do we share similar or the same audience?
- Do we have similar personalities? (Do I like spending time with them?)
- Is there a possible collaboration that helps us both?
- Would this person’s skill set enhance mine, and could we, together, help our audiences more?
- Do I love sharing their offerings? (Or am I already doing that—naked or not?)
- If we do very similar things, how can we come together to create something special for our audiences?
Okay, now for the part you probably don’t want to hear. This is about selling.
Yeah, I said it. Problem is, you don’t like the idea of selling and you’ve shut yourself off from amazing opportunities because of limiting beliefs.
Pause. Deep breath.
This is about selling the shit out of your partner’s offering. You think you know what I mean by that, and maybe you’re off a little bit with that definition.
When I look at one of the brand photos Melissa shot for me, I smile. I feel good. . . like this:
I want to make a Facebook graphic out of it. I want to share it. And. . . I want all my authors to have that kind of photo, too.
So, naturally, I’m going to let people know how I feel about these photos. I’m going to share how I feel, and about who helped me feel that way, and how, and why I think the world should also feel that way. I may or may not be naked on a rooftop while I do this.
And right there, in the middle of my passion about my own headshot, is me being the most bad-assiest business partner Melissa ever had.
I’m not going to you and grabbing you by the shirt sleeves and shaking you, saying, “You need Melissa’s $850 brandtopgraphy package right now. You should go buy it. Why are you waiting?”
By the way, she’s more expensive than that. And she’s worth it.
What if your photos not only upgraded your entire website and social presence, but also helped the world feel your passion and made them want to click on your site? What if those clicks turned into a couple discovery calls? And then a client?
When you invest in good stuff, good stuff comes back around. Especially when it comes to awesome photos!
What I’m really doing here, is sharing my enthusiasm. I’m allowing you to soak up the high vibes I have when I talk about Melissa and how she helps me. You like that, I know you do. You’re not being sold to. You’re being given a favor. You’re being gifted with the powerful energy of my sharing. I want you to feel great, too. I mean it when I talk about someone I love and how they helped me.
The only reason I can say that is because I got to know Melissa, purchased her services, and then got to know her more, at the next level. You’re not going to be able to share any enthusiasm about someone you don’t know that well. You can’t get excited enough. You just can’t!
Ask yourself who you feel that way about? Who are you shouting about right now? Anyone?
So, to be great business partners means you gotta go there. If you spend the time, effort, and energy taking the relationship to the next level, and you do that a few times, you basically create one badass sales team. Only nobody is selling for you, they’re authentically sharing about what you do in a game-changing way — one that helps you build your business.
YAY, I love doing that for people. And I love when they do that for me.
So, now, who can you think of? Who do you want to get to know? Who have you thought about collaborating with, but have been too afraid to ask? Who is it time to have that next conversation with?
Let me know how it goes!
Laura Di Franco is the CEO of Brave Healer Productions where they specialize in publishing and business strategy for holistic health and wellness professionals. She owned a six-figure private cash physical therapy practice before opening up her publishing company. After 30 years as a healer, she’s helping her colleagues share their brave words in a bigger way. Laura is a lifelong athlete, lover of dark chocolate, and a spoken-word poet. If she’s not writing, you’ll find her driving her Mustang with the top down, blasting some EDM
Ready for a strategy session that will catapult your business? BraveHealer.com