Buddying may be the easiest way to create a Triple Win for your business.
Every small business owner knows that it is expensive and challenging to start and run a business. The load can be reduced by finding a business buddy who shares your ideal customer but provides a complementary product or service. Why wouldn’t you share the load and increase the benefits?
I’m going to tell you a story of two business buddies in Oatley who did just this. Lara was running a shop selling pre-loved clothing called Echoes Boutique. She wanted to move her business to Oatley and had heard there was a rare chance to rent a shopfront. She contacted the agent, but it was already gone. Undeterred, she found the person who had secured the premises and approached her. Lisa is the owner of Qismet Jewellery which specialises in artisan jewellery and other accessories. They talked and decided to share the space of the shop. In the beginning, they only shared the rent, but over time they discovered they could offer one another a lot more.
‘They say don’t do business with family or friends. Well, we became friends after becoming business buddies,’ Lisa said to me. Lara added: ‘We now support one another in so many ways although we keep our businesses separate. People don’t realise there are two businesses in this space when they come into the shop – it all just flows, really.’
THESE BUSINESS BUDDIES ARE THE EPITOME OF A TRIPLE WIN
Lara and Lisa have created wins for themselves, the community and the world. Not only have they lessened the burden of running Echoes and Qismet, but they have created the best outcomes for everyone. Theirs is an example of what I always say: win-win is good, but Triple Win is better.
SO HOW DID THEY DO IT? WELL, WITHOUT MUCH ADO, REALLY
Lara and Lisa just decided that they would share the challenges and the benefits. They didn’t enter into a formal partnership but made a commitment to keep their communication open and constructive, and to be supportive of one another. They are committed to being professional, ethical and connected to community. And they agreed to keep their businesses separate but running closely side by side. Those commitments have made all the difference.
WIN-WIN IS GOOD, BUT TRIPLE WIN IS BETTER
If Lara and Lisa only focused on what works for the two of them, they’d be cosy business buddies, both benefiting, but not putting any focus on who else can benefit. By sharing the load, they have the capacity to also focus on their customers, their community, and even on doing ethical business.
This is the Triple Win:
WINS FOR THE BUSINESS OWNERS
- They share rent
- Business owners share advertising and marketing
- They share ideas which get wilder and whackier as the years go on
- They’re available for one another as needed.
WINS FOR THE COMMUNITY
- The business is beautiful and local. It provides options for the Oatley community to browse and have a chat and purchase from their recycled or their ethically sourced ranges.
- Local fundraisers always get support from the owners who offer fundraising nights, clothing drives, and prizes for local schools and organisations. Of course, this brings more foot traffic to the store. More wins for the business owners.
WINS FOR THE WORLD
- Wherever possible, both Qismet and Echoes source products ethically, and locally.
- The recycled range creates a lighter footprint on the world.
- With a good deal of local support, the shop reduces transport costs.
- The community spirit they create is immeasurable in terms of impact but must be noted as an advantage of this kind of shop.
It isn’t hard to create a Triple Win. It usually just requires small tweaks to make a big impact. This example started with one simple collaboration – sharing space and sharing rent. But with collaboration in mind, it grew to much more.
Buddy with another business to create a Triple Win. Try it. I’d love to know how you go.
First published on smallville.com.au
#TripleWin #RosemaryShapiroLiu #Accountability