Being a successful entrepreneur requires an element of risk. Often, this includes launching a new innovative business that no one else has thought to create, which means taking a leap of faith. A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that to be successful, they have to go it alone. While some ventures do prosper after being run independently, the most profitable businesses are born from external partnerships.
As a business, you can survive alone. However, to thrive, you need to connect with the rest of the industry. Forming an external partnership, such as the one natural beauty brand, Puriskin by Vanessa Blake
Cosmetics, have formed with Birchbox, can serve as the connection to success. When a well-known, trusted brand, advertises a newer company’s products or services, it makes the brand seem more familiar and less risky. This increase the chances of sales, and also exposes the smaller company to a wider and more diverse audience.
Of course, not all companies mesh well together. For a partnership to be successful, it needs to be mutually beneficial to both parties. Take subscription beauty box company, Birchbox, for example. They partner with smaller brands and share and promote their products in their monthly subscription boxes. The smaller company gets exposure to a wider audience, but what does the larger brand get? For Birchbox, it’s being able to provide their subscribers with new products that they may not have heard of before. To be successful, each partnership has to benefit both parties, in some way or another.
Brand partnerships can be tricky to navigate, so to help you form a successful connection, here’s what you need to know.
Plan in advance
If you want to create a successful relationship with another brand, don’t just send them a spur-of-the-moment email, take the time to plan in advance. It’s also important to realise that rushing into partnership with a brand that isn’t a perfect match can be a recipe for disaster. Take your time finding the perfect company to collaborate with.
If you’ve found a brand that sounds like a good match for your company, put together a partnership proposal. Detail how the collaboration would work and how it would help both yourself and them. Then, after researching the correct person to get in touch with, email the proposal over to the brand. Ensure that in your proposal you have covered every aspect of the potential collaboration.
Honour the relationship
Once you’ve found a brand to collaborate with, make sure to honour the relationship. This means not doing anything that could potentially damage it or the other brand. For example, if you’ve been lucky enough to get your beauty products into a monthly subscription box, don’t then start supplying other boxes as well. You need to honour and respect the relationship that you already have. If the company doesn’t want you to work with other similar brands, it’s important to understand and accept that.
Think about the benefit to others
It’s crucial that when it comes to brand collaboration, you don’t think purely about the benefit for your company. You need to also take the time to think about how building a connection with the other brand will benefit them. For example, in the case of the collaboration between Birchbox and Puriskin by Vanessa Blake Cosmetics increased their exposure significantly. While Birchbox got the chance to provide their customers with a new range of products. Then there’s the benefit for the Birchbox subscribers; they got to test and try out products that most of them had never tried before. For successful brand partnership, your mindset shouldn’t focus purely on the benefits for your company.
Read the contracts and fine print
This applies to all aspects of business; never sign a legal document without reading it thoroughly. For all you know, the document that you’ve been given could state that you’ve signed all your business rights over to the other company. It’s unlikely but even so, it’s important to always read contacts in detail, including the fine print. If you’re not legally minded, it’s best to send them to your solicitor before signing.
If you want your partnership to work, you need to be honest about your brand. Don’t be afraid to tell potential partners that you’re just starting out and that your company is still in its early years. If you’re honest about the limitations your company is under, your partnership brand will be able to help you fill the gaps. That’s the idea of brand partnership, to help fill the gaps and speed up your journey to the top.