In business, no person is an island. You need people. They need you, and never be too prideful to think that you can do it alone - you can't.
Relationships are pivotal in business, and to a large extent, you need to take a ride on the back of someone else's success in order to reach a certain level of success. I'm not saying use people. What I am saying is see what you and your company have to offer someone more successful, offer it, and have the benefit of using their well established brand to further your brand and increase your clientelle. Why do people appear on shows like The Apprentice? It's for leverage. It's about association. Most of the contestants are not interested in the job afterwards. Most of them are not entirely clued up as to what the job entails. What they do recognise is the importance of being aligned with someone like Donald Trump (USA) or Alan Sugar (UK), and what it can do for their own business in the long term.
Partnering with other successful businesses, or business people builds credibility. If you mentioned that you have shared the stage with Richard Branson, your kudos goes up instantly compared to just a regular speaker. Joint Ventures in business and correct relationships will build your brand faster than you could alone. Most people want to adopt this method, but don't have a clue where to begin. The best way to start is to look at what businesses you would like to be aligned with and why. Compile a list of about 10 businesses / business people. Be realistic in the list. Don't just include a list of the 10 biggest players.
2. Examine what you have to offer them. For example, you could be an accounting company that specialises in the media. One of the companies on your list may be Channel 4, or Sky TV. What you have to offer them could be an accounting package that could help them to save time on their accounts dramatically, thus saving them money. Examine what you have to offer, and how long you have to offer it for.
3. Make the approach. This is where a lot of people bottle it, and run. They convince themselves that so and so wouldn't be interested in them. Find the appropriate person, and approach them. Email is
probably best at first, and then follow it up with a phone call. In the email, state briefly what you like about them, what you have to offer, and a bit about your company. You don't have to go into explicit detail here as you are not trying to close the deal. You are merely asking for
a meeting. A simple email would be:
I have been following your company for sometime as a forerunner in your
industry, and I believe we have some common ground. I have an
innovative accounting product, and I would love the opportunity to give
you a trial for (6 months / 1 year) totally free of charge. Can we have
a meeting to discuss further please?
4. Follow it up with a phone call to set a meeting date.
5. Close the deal.You get the benefit of saying you have had Channel 4 or whoever as a client, they get the benefit of using your product. Instant credibility.
You can use the same method to approach people to promote your product / service to their mailing list by offering cross promotion, and a bit extra.
Riding with successful people in business works. Every business owner should factor this in to their monthly work programme, as building strategic alliances are essential to your growth.