Partnerships are a great way to grow your business.
It can work especially well for local businesses. The "local" in this sense would be any business in a specific area selling to customers in that specific area. That means people that live there or that are visiting the area.
How can you partner with other businesses?
Here are some ideas to get you started...
1. Referral Agreement
Contact a complementary business. Pitch the idea of referring customers to each other. For a general agreement, you'll have to have a similar size business. You and the other business will want to benefit from the deal. A good way to approach it would be to try and refer the initial customers to build goodwill with the new partner.
Say you have an Airbnb - contact your favorite restaurants nearby. Tell them you would like to refer customers to them. See if they might be willing to refer their customers to your Airbnb. For themselves or for visiting friends and relatives.
2. Product Packages
Find a complementary business and see if you can work together to offer a package of your products or services to create more value for your shared customers.
A lawyer and accountant can team up to create a package for new businesses offering legal help and bookkeeping help. These might usually involve a discounting of services from each, but each company saves by attracting more customers.
3. White Labeling
This usually involves a little work behind the scenes by a partner. But sometimes the customer is in on how everything is working.
Say you're an event planner. You need catering services for many of the events you plan and want to offer that to your customers. You partner with a restaurant or catering service.
You could either have your customers feel that they're working only with you. Or you could tell them that you're working with the catering service.
Identify your competition, reach out and see if they would be interested in sending any overflow to you. You'd be surprised at what you might find.
Some businesses have to turn away customers during busy times. Those customers don't want to wait. They feel frustrated. The business doesn't want to leave them hanging so it's a win-win to refer them to another business even if it's a competitor.
Maybe you're a new limo service. Contact the existing limo companies. They may not have enough limos for busy times like prom or business events. See if they would want to refer customers to you during these times. Offer a few free events to prove that you do a good job.
You might even find that the competition might want to white label your services during busy times.
5. Resource Sharing
Sometimes it can be good to share resources or data with each other.
Say you're a pizza restaurant. Contact the sandwich shop down the street. See if you can meetup to discuss your social media efforts to see what is working and what isn't. You can learn from each other.
Or maybe you look at your promotion schedules. See if you can coordinate your schedules so you're not always doing big events on the same days. Maybe even offer to help each other in terms of resources like cooking areas or even staff.
There may be a legal issue or two in some instances so watch for those.
Hopefully these ideas can spark creative partnerships for you and your business. You could use one of these, but perhaps you're able to find something else that can work great. The main takeaway is that partnerships are something to consider at all times as a way to grow.