Over the past several years I have watched closely as business practices and 'HOW' people do business has changed. Our economy has been forever changed and many larger businesses are taking on the practices that have sustained small business for years. This past week I saw an advertisement that demonstrated this trend perfectly.
Let me begin with saying that as a small business owner, I recognized early on that I would NEVER EVER find a broad enough customer data base on my own. I just did not have the marketing budget to get the word out and did not have the time to seek them out one by one. And I became aware of the value of shared information.
I knew that my customers bought other things than what I had to offer. And I also knew that there were hundreds of potential clients nearby who purchased items and services from my peers - but knew nothing about my services of products.
It is for this reason that I began forming alliances. 'Forming alliances' is a term many small business owners are aware of - but few really practice well. Many small business owners shy away from forming true alliances for fear that they will lose their customer. And that my friend, is scarcity thinking at work.
Last week I saw a commercial advertisement on television put out by a very big company. The company was touting the fact that their product was a much needed product. The company was General Electric - and their product was turbines - that help create electricity.. And to prove their point they mentioned that without electricity that they could not brew beer. Instead of stopping at the point they made - they mentioned a specific beer; Budweiser.
Its not clear if Budweiser paid G.E. to appear in their commercial. But it is a clear example of alliance marketing. (view the commercial here
It may seem like a simple concept to share information with peers and promote each other with joint offers or offering coupons from other businesses. All it takes is some time, effort and trust with your peer. Unfortunately many business owners think that they will either have to give up control or that their partner(s) in the alliance will not reciprocate with the same degree of enthusiasm as they have and the arrangement will be lopsided. Again scarcity thinking.
As a small business owner and an abundant thinker, I realize that sharing talents and information is critical to the success of any business in this new age. Creating joint coupon books, special joint offers or even appearing in each others' advertising is a great way to reach a larger audience. Metaphorically, it also shows that we all can play together in the sandbox together and do so happily.
Learn more about forming alliances
here, or check out our upcoming webinar
on forming alliances.