Editor’s note: This week’s post is Part 2 of 2 from guest blogger Aundrea Y. Wilcox, a professional business consultant and author of the book, Startup Savvy: Strategies for Optimizing Small Business Survival and Success. After sharing the story of a pizza business that apparently overlooked its neighboring small business in a promotion, this week she provides tips to help rather than hurt business neighbors.
- Get to know them. If you don’t know who your neighbors are, go visit them and introduce yourself. Creating a bond will make all the difference in the world. You should know who they are and what they do and they should be as familiar with you. There is nothing worse than waiting until you actually have a problem and need their help, before you get to know your neighbors. It may surprise you to discover that they’re not as bad as you might think, and they may actually want to see you be successful. Ask if they need help with anything, and be willing to roll up your sleeves if they do.
- Co-host an event together. If possible, include logos of both businesses on the invitation or announcement. You can also co-market the event on the web. For example, if you both have a Facebook Business Page, cross-reference each other in your status update posts. Before the event takes place, develop talking points to present to attendees and guests about your unique business relationship.
- Share best practices. A best practice is a way of doing something that has worked for someone else to generate positive results, and has the potential to work similarly for others who choose to adapt it. Sharing best practices is a great way to improve performance and overall quality of service. Best practices keep us from having to “reinvent the wheel”—saving time and money that would be spent learning by trial and error. So much more can be accomplished if businesses identify and share best practices that work for them.
- Respect them whether they join you or not. Of course, you have to take time to evaluate whether a partnership with your neighbor fits your business goals. Regardless of whether you work together or not, each of you still needs your own comprehensive marketing plan—just be open to your neighbor’s suggestions and ways you can mutually benefit from partnership. If worst comes to worst and you can’t see eye to eye or you don’t have anything nice to say, take mom’s advice and bite your lip—don’t say anything at all—and don’t do anything that could come back on you.
Try these suggestions and you’ll see the difference you can make in whether your neighbor succeeds or not. If nothing else, you’ll see how much easier it can be to be neighborly, supportive and happy coexisting together. This is why “love thy neighbor” is so important if we ever hope to improve the statistics of small business survival and success.
Aundrea Y. Wilcox is a professional business consultant and the author of the book, Startup Savvy: Strategies for Optimizing Small Business Survival and Success. To connect with Aundrea, follow her on Twitter @StartupSavvy, and “Like” her Facebook Author Page, StartupSavvy. Visit startupsavvy.biz for more insights and tips about small business ownership and management.