Most entrepreneurs I have met, including me, have done bartering at some point in their business.
Bartering is when you exchange your products/services with another entrepreneur without using money. For example, a health coach may barter an hour of coaching with a virtual assistant who gives back an hour of her administrative services.
Entrepreneurs find bartering attractive because it doesn’t involve an exchange of cash, but each party still gets something in return, which is helpful if you have a cashflow problem.
On paper, bartering sounds great, but in execution, it can lead to a lot of problems. Often, one party doesn’t hold up her end of the bargain, or the “exchange” doesn’t seem fair in value or time delivered. It can also make you feel like crap because you are not getting paid (in cash) for your Gifts.
You deserve to be richly compensated for your Divine Gifts, which is why I want to suggest an alternative to bartering – and that’s joint partnerships. Let’s talk more about joint partnerships in this week’s marketing strategy!
Joint partnerships are when you forge a business relationship with another entrepreneur who serves your ideal client – but in a different way.
Let’s say you are a dog walker. Your ideal clients are dog owners who work away from home and want to ensure their dog is well taken care of. What other businesses might have this same ideal client but serve them differently?
- Dog groomer
- Pet photographer
- Dog trainer
- Animal communicator
- Pet store owner
- Dog bakery
Now, if I were a dog walker, I would try to find businesses in each of these categories. Not only do you want them to serve your ideal clients, you should strive to find an energetic fit.
Let’s say you forge a great relationship with a dog trainer. She has the same energy and ideology as you, and you don’t have that many clients in common. This would be the perfect time to ask the dog trainer to be a joint partner with you.
How to set up a joint partnership
What does your joint partnership look like? Here are a few options:
- Exclusive referral partner where you only refer clients to each other and not others in the same industries
- An affiliate partnership where you pay a commission on referrals sent to you by your partner
- A custom-designed service or program that you create together, which allows you to serve your clients in a bigger way (you would split the profit)
However you proceed, be sure to get everything in writing with an expiration date. Contracts and agreements keep partners happy! Have a trial period of 90 days to see how the relationship goes. This gives you an “out” if things don’t work out.
Why joint partnerships are better than bartering
Joint partnerships are a great substitute for bartering because you are not exchanging goods or services – you are exchanging ideas, customer bases, marketing, and services. You can reach more people with a joint partnership, and if you’re in a cash flow crunch, your joint partnership can help add to your bottom line.
- Make a list of businesses that serve your ideal client in a different way than you.
- Start casual relationships with these business owners, looking for the right match.
- Once you find someone, have a coffee date to discuss and exchange ideas. Be open!
- If you agree to move forward with a joint partnership, be sure to put everything in writing.