Even if you’ve just become a franchise owner and you’ve got the whole strength of your network behind you, building partnerships in your community is important.
Partnerships can come in a variety of scopes and sizes, including:
1. Small partnerships with local events or organisers
2. Mutual advertising partnerships with local businesses
3. Full-on strategic partnerships with local providers
Even on the smallest scale, these relationships will help you grow your business in all kinds of ways.
But there are some important questions you should ask when choosing which local events and businesses to partner up with:
Q1) Do you have the same values?
Being part of the same local community might be enough to make you consider a strategic partnership with another business. But do they have the same values as you?
Even if you’re considering a very small-scale advertising partnership – an exchange of flyers in your stores, for example – you’ll want to pay attention to your potential partner’s values.
Clashing values can lead to at least two possible problems:
1. Internal strife: mismatched values can make it difficult for you to get along as a partnership.
2. External no-correlation confusion: will your partnership with this brand make sense to your clients? Are you big on your green credentials while they’re known as an arch-waster of resources? That’s not going to help your brand.
So even if a potential strategic partnership with a large brand might make sense at the financial level, you need to know it does on the values level too.
Q2) Do you complement each other?
On a strategic partnership level (although some massive companies like Amazon might be the exception to the rule), specialisation means that most SMEs, at least, will need a minimum of one partner to complement their own expertise.
Whether that means a shipping partner to deliver their goods (for instance, as a logistics specialist, this is a partner role that any MBE franchisee is going to want to try and fill) or an advertising agency which specialises in their industry.
Do both you and your potential partner have leverage which the other can use to drive their growth?
If so, you pass another step on the potential partnership test.
Q3) Do you have approval from the decision makers?
It might seem like dropping some business cards inside a local store might only need agreement from whoever happens to be working at the time.
But would you let just any old company advertise in your store?
Make sure you get the approval from a decision maker – even if all you want is a very small-scale partnership. Otherwise, you run the risk of ruining this partnership before it can become something bigger.
When looking into franchise opportunities, you should check what your network’s policy on local partnerships is. If they’re sensible, they’ll encourage them. They might also ask for details to ensure you’re compliant with questions 1 and 2.
Q4) Have you decided on a combined marketing strategy?
You’re understandably proud of your new partnership. You want to get the word out there. But what if your partner does too – and they’re sending a message and details which contradict what you’re saying?
Getting your story straight is how to build partnerships in your community 101.
Q5) Have you documented?
Never forget that having everything in black and white is the best way to keep everyone content later on.
You should also regularly review your partnerships to make sure everyone is happy with what they’re getting long into the future.