Who else used to team up during Monopoly? Available real-estate is running low. Hotels and houses are flying up. You and a friend look around and realise that the property on the board does not belong to you. It’s time to start making deals. Trading your precious Bond Street for Pentonville Road just to get a complete set no longer seems like a bad idea. Collaboration rules.
It’s a simple example but one that rules true in the world of business too. With economic challenges such as rising interest rates and Brexit picking up pace, SMEs should be thinking of a range of ways to help them strengthen operations, their customer base and supplier relationships.
That’s where collaboration comes in; who else is in a similar situation, looking to solidify their place in the market and lay the foundations for a bright future? Exploring different ways to collaborate is a good first step, which is what I wanted to help with. Here are just a few examples of how your SME could get started:
1. Sharing knowledge. Are you looking around at other businesses and thinking “we’ve been trying to do that for months now, how do they manage it?” Open communication channels and see what tricks of the trade you can offer in return.
2. Join your offers. Do you have a similar target audience as another local business? Why not combine offers to give your customers a better deal overall whilst reducing your own costs.
3. Filling a gap. Have you seen a product or service that your customers would love, but you don’t have the means to produce it yourself? Collaborating with the seller could bring new opportunities straight to your door.
4. Having the right setup. Resources such as technology, machinery, warehousing and distribution play a vital role in the success of an SME. Can you explore collaboration with another business and benefit from each other’s setup?
5. Joint press releases. If you can start working with another business and you’re putting the effort in, the likelihood is that people will be interested to hear. Being seen to partner up in an effort to benefit locals should go down well with readers.
With so much to gain, what’s stopping you from collaborating?
If you’re interested, the latest Collaborate UK report is available to download now.
A separate survey of more than 1,000 decision-makers and owners of UK SMEs, conducted by same-day distribution company CitySprint and also released on Wednesday, found that 77 per cent of firms are as confident or more confident about the future of their business now than they were 12 months ago. That, however, was a significant drop from the 85 per cent figure recorded in its 2015 report. Among those CitySprint surveyed, 43 per cent said they lack confidence in the Government’s ability to protect their business from the impact of Brexit.