Business to Business Working Relationships
I met Alan Raycraft online about 9 years ago (2010) through a business that was listing and encouraging other businesses to work together on Facebook, mainly Work At Home Parent types, they had a Website that had one of those old school link exchange systems on their site (something that Google doesn't like, so don't think about using one).
It turned out that Alan was the owner of Raycraft Computer Consultants, and after some back and forth and friendly banter, we learned that we had a lot of similar interests, particularly in the IT (Information Technology) field.
Both of us have a history of performing customer services, such as computer repairs, building new systems, and general troubleshooting of hardware and software.
It also happened that Alan was interested in updating his Website and his online presence.
While Alan already had a Website, he was interested in something more robust, nicer looking, and something he could easily maintain.
And this is where I came in. I was at the time, providing hosting services, and web design using my own custom-built Content Management System which has now evolved into AuroraCMS.
Since then, I have hosted and designed with Alan's approval a design for his business, that I believe works well for him, and in that time we have helped each other out in different ways, on a personal and business level.
We've both let off steam about issues (that I won't go into here) that we have and still struggle with on a personal level, and give each other advice, that has helped us both greatly, and come to an understanding that we are not the only ones who struggle in similar situations.
We have both passed work onto each other during this time, benefitting us both in as far as being able to earn a little for each of our businesses.
Alan now does the hosting of his and my client's websites, and he has also brought more website client's into the fold for me to design.
During my time as a Web Developer, I have also been able to use Alan's Website to test Search Engine Techniques, which I'm happy to report have worked great and have benefitted Alan's Search Engine Rankings positively. And those findings will enable us both to pass that information learned onto current and future client's.
In today's mad rush of a society, where it seems that everyone is out to make a quick buck, do everything on their own, and be in competition with similar businesses, it is refreshing to be able to work with someone who is not only like-minded, but is also not out to simply make a quick dollar at the detriment of lousy work, or not caring about client's needs.
Getting to know Alan on a personal level, even though we've never met face to face, we've been able to watch (via social media) our families grow and evolve in the past 9 years, and I believe we've come to trust each other on a level that other businesses or people simply don't. That seems to be a rare thing these days. We need more of it, and we need more businesses to work together even in the same industry as one another.
Collaborating with other businesses, regardless if they are in the same industry or not, can be beneficial not only to yours and their business but also the local economy. Working together is less stressful and much better for long term health, physically and the health of your business. Actively putting your business against others can also mean spending a lot of time doing so, and not working on your own to it and your detriment.
A great example of collaboration could go like this. A local coffee shop could display an impressive arrangement of flowers on its counter, provided by a florist located locally. The coffee shop receives a beautiful addition to their décor, while the florist gets to reach out to potential customers in the area that may not have otherwise been aware of its services. In this way, both businesses benefit.
In my case, there is a local artisan that may need a website to promote their products, which is something I use in my everyday life. After building their website, I add it to my portfolio with links back to their website, and a purchase code the customer can use when they purchase one or more products. That code, could give the customer a discount, and indicate to my client where that customer came from, and in turn, also gives me a discount on that product. This collaboration works in a number of ways, not just financially, but also helps both businesses with natural links to my client's website, helping theirs and my SEO, as well as passing on business to my client on an ongoing basis (obviously as long as customers are filtering through my website onto the clients). The client can also pass business back when asked who built their website, in turn benefitting my business.
Those are just a couple of examples, there's a lot of ways businesses can work together. In the case of businesses in the same industry, there may be situations where each specialises in a particular part of the same industry, and each can pass on customers that need that specialised service.
Well, I hope this article gives you the reader some ideas that can help improve your inter-business relationships, and you can prosper in this tough economy. Just remember, not everyone is your enemy.