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Local Business Collaboration: We’re Stronger Together

Friday, January 24, 2020

In decades past, most business owners would agree that success could only be achieved by creating and building their business on their own. Local business collaboration was seen as a risk, and competitors often viewed one another with cynicism and distrust. While entrepreneurship and individual growth is a vital part of a small business owner’s success, collaboration and partnerships are becoming more important.

At Clearly Kosciusko, collaboration and community partnership is what fuels our story of unity. Want to discover more about becoming a Clearly Kosciusko member? Click here to learn more.

As we step into a new decade, 2020 can be the decade where our local Kosciusko County businesses work together to thrive in new ways. It’s not always easy to shift our mindsets from one of competition to one of collaboration, so we thought we’d give you a few ways to start the process.

How To Collaborate For Local Success

Choose The Right Partner

Not every local business will be the right fit to collaborate with yours. If you aren’t sure where to start, make a list of local businesses that you typically view as competitors. Review that list critically and identify any businesses you’ve had positive interactions with. 

Have you worked with those owners before? Maybe you’ve both been present at community events and had a positive experience. Are there any businesses that share your values and commitment to seeing Kosciusko County thrive?

Brainstorm Creative Ways To Collaborate

There are often natural ways you can connect and encourage local business collaboration. For example, if one of your goals is to get more foot traffic and you know another shop on your street has the same goal, why not work together?

Examples

  • Ten of this town’s merchants contribute monthly for a collective page in a regional food magazine. Their goal was to increase local awareness and foot traffic for every vendor on their street. Read the full story here!
  • Work together to host a “pop up” event featuring multiple vendors. If you don’t have a brick and mortar store, this can be a great way to see if moving in that direction is a good idea. Collaborating with other local vendors can increase interest in the community, helping everyone succeed. Learn more about pop-up opportunities here!
  • Create a local gift guide designed to keep people shopping local. Guides like this feature a variety of local vendors typically sharing the cost of production to make marketing more affordable. A local marketing or design company can help create the guide, providing another collaboration that benefits the community. Discover the hidden potential of local gift guides here!

Work Toward A Common Goal

It can be difficult to shift your mindset from a single focus on your business’ success into one of collaboration and community. Your business is your livelihood; you worked hard to get where you are and want to continue to experience success. For many of us, our business has become part of our identity and we want to protect it.

One of the best ways to remember that when our neighboring business succeeds, we all experience success, is by working toward a common goal. Instead of going into collaboration with another business only focused on how it can improve your bottom line, set a larger goal.

Example

Two Clearly Kosciusko members are collaborating in a way that provides publicity and profit to both businesses. On Thursday, February 27, The Lab, located in downtown Warsaw, will be hosting a pop-up shop at Port Winona in the Village at Winona Lake. While patrons wait to get their electronics repaired by The Lab, they can enjoy a beverage and time with friends or family while relaxing at Port Winona. 

Their partnership is built on a common goal: to help one another grow their audiences and offer a memorable, enjoyable experience that hopefully leads to future customers and sales. When they meet that goal, both businesses will benefit.

Communicate Openly And Regularly

This might be the most important element of a successful partnership. When communication stops, misunderstandings tend to grow. If you partner with local businesses, make sure to schedule regular conversations to discuss progress, goals, ideas, and any issues that come up. 

By regularly communicating, you can get ahead of any potential problems or misunderstandings before they turn into something negative.

Where To Start

If you like the idea of local business collaboration but aren’t sure where to start, one of Clearly Kosciusko’s partners is the perfect resource for you. The Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce has regular networking events and opportunities designed to help you connect with other local business owners.

Ready To Become A Clearly Kosciusko County Member?

We believe our community is stronger when we work together and everyone wins as our local small businesses thrive. By becoming a member and supporting local initiatives like Clearly Kosciusko, you can be an active part of what makes living and working in Kosciusko County amazing.

Not sure what it really means to be a member of Clearly Kosciusko? Discover more and get your questions answered here.