If the impact of COVID-19 on small business owners and communities across Australia has taught us anything, it’s just how important it is to help each other. If you own an SME business, connecting with other businesses helps to build mutually beneficial relationships , support local business and may be the answer to ‘weathering the storm’ during uncertain times.
There are several reasons why business-to-business relationships can help you grow your business, including the following:
Running a small business can be tough, however it’s important to stay motivated throughout the highs and particularly during the lows. Whether you need to find ways to adapt to the current environment, or need help launching a new product or online business, learning from the experiences of other businesses can help provide guidance. Offering and receiving peer support in a non-judgemental platform for sharing challenges – whether that be through social media, in the community, or your local business chamber – can help small business owners stay focussed when times are tough. Plus, in the good times, those relationships are invaluable when it comes to celebrating your successes, sharing best business case examples, and creating business partnerships to support your business growth goals.
Finding a business mentor
Taking emotional support one step further, you may be able to find someone within your support network who can be a business mentor to help your business grow. Beyond offering advice, knowledge and insights gained from their own experience, a good business mentor will also be able to help you identify any risks to your business, evaluate the best business structure and help you write a business case to support your business growth plans. They will also be able to share ideas to enhance your offering, develop your professional skills and help you broaden your business support network.
Sharing local knowledge and expertise
There’s every chance that many of the small businesses in your local area don't offer the same products or services as you. So, building relationships with other small business owners is a great way to support local business and tap into a broad range of expertise and local knowledge. Networking amongst small businesses can open the doors to new customers and suppliers, help you stay on top of industry trends, and even identify new opportunities for business partnerships.
Talking to other SME businesses can also help you understand where there may be opportunities to collaborate on new ideas, explore synergies and create business partnerships to give you access to new customers, products or markets. Look out for other businesses that have resources you can leverage for a ‘win-win’. Is there a potential partner to help sell your product or service to their customer base? What could you offer them in exchange? Is there an opportunity to package or bundle your products together?
Social media for business
Tagging, commenting and sharing on social media channels (such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) are extremely helpful in building customer awareness for brands and businesses. By engaging in thought leadership discussions in your industry, or by sharing images and posts on your own social media business pages, other small businesses can share information about your business with their own followers who may take an interest in what you are offering, and vice versa. Following, liking and interacting with other small businesses on social media and asking them to return the favour is a great way to build more awareness about your business and create potential leads.
Contact us to find out more about how BOQ Business can support your small business.