Partnering with people is the best way to garner resources, help and ideas for your business. Forging partnerships with employees, customers and even friends is one unique way to succeed when you are short on funds and big on plans. Here are 4 sure fire ways for small business owners to partner with people and harness people power to fuel business success…
Make them Stakeholders
Making people stakeholders in your business is one of the best ways of rewarding them and recognizing their contribution to your firm or venture. The concept of intrapreneurship hinges on this wherein employees who contribute in terms of research, product development and design or marketing are rewarded through shareholding or profit sharing plans.
Another way is involving people and working to promote and protect their contribution. A designer I know who works with weavers to bring rare weaves of the North Eastern parts of India partners with weavers to create designs that showcase their tradition and skills. She offers to revive looms which are now defunct due to lack of funds and tries to do her bit by documenting dialects and designs of tribes hitherto unknown.
Human Face to Your Brand
Give your brand a human face to get people to recognize the hands behind the product or service. This is a great way of acknowledging the effort of the people who work towards creating your product or delivering your service.
Commonly used by social enterprises I suggested this as an innovative technique for branding which I suggested to a friend who runs a social enterprise engaged in the supply of single flora honey. The honey is sourced from bee boxes put up on farms owned by small and marginal farmers. My idea was to put a label or tag telling a little story about the farmer and or his family to help consumers realize how their purchase would benefit a less privileged person or family.
I have done an entire blog post on how barter can be used to boost a business and I believe successful business owners are also great at barter. Whether it is a photographer who does a free photo shoot in exchange for referrals or a yoga instructor who teaches free yoga to customers who helped him connect with at least five others, barter is a great way to connect with people.
It is also a life saver when you are short on cash, time or resources and absolutely need to get things done.
Create win-win situations for people so they feel like getting involved with you or your business. Take Witty Shit, an innovative company that encourages people to submit one liners which are later sold to companies in search of slogans or tag lines. Its win-win on all sides… Witty Shit gets a reserve of innovative one liners, people get an outlet for their creativity and companies get tag lines without spending a bomb!
Roping people in on your entrepreneurial journey is not easy. But with these tips, it might not be too difficult either. Good luck with your partnering endeavors!