I have never taken to the idea of selling and it didn’t matter up until the time I joined the ranks of the self-employed. I was so naive during my first project that I devoted my time and energy solely to the task and did nothing to 'fill the pipeline'. Nine months later I had a tidy sum of money in the bank, a good deal more confidence than I started with and glowing references. What I didn’t have was a clue as to where my next project was going to come from or how I was going to find it, no less, close it.
I reasoned that there must be others who were providing the services I performed and that some of them could use some help getting the work done. It worked out very well- rather than spending the majority of my time looking for work I was able to spend it billing hours and building relationships and referrals. I’m not recommending you run away from what needs to be done. But I can tell you this without hesitation- you don’t have to do it all alone!
What I’d discovered is the strategic alliance; a formal cooperative or collaborative relationship between two or more parties to pursue a set of agreed upon goals or to meet a critical business need while remaining independent. To frame it another way, I see it as a barter relationship. Depending upon the size and construct of a business, strategic alliances take on different forms. I’ll limit my focus to small businesses in which "jack-of-all-trades" and limited staffing are household terms. To the small business owner the myriad of tasks and responsibilities can be daunting. When there is not enough staff or expertise to go around strategic alliances are worth a look. In fact for the small business owner strategic alliances can be a life-line.
Consider these benefits:
Each of us has the opportunity to bring added value to our clients by introducing an individual that may be of service to them. The same can be said for any of a variety of strategic alliances. Here are a few suggestions for getting started:
The world is full of talented people; not all of us excel at the same things and it is this heterogeneity that fuels synergy and success. Remember, you don’t have to do it all alone.