One of the most exciting experiences for me as my business grew, was the opportunity to work with other entrepreneurs and get exposed to bigger projects and different ways of working. When I opened myself and my business up to this possibility, there was the risk of getting my fingers burnt.
Meeting and working with like minded people has been amazing for me, but there's also been lessons learnt along the way. Here are my top tips for making collaborations work for you and your business:
1. Understand your own vision: Sometimes a business will pitch a really 'awesome' opportunity for collaboration and get you in a whirlwind of excitement. Step back and ask yourself how this opportunity fits in with your overall goals. If it doesn't align with your vision...you know what to do ;)
2. Check your ethic-match: As a personal value, I do not work with people whose business ethic is questionable, there's more to lose than gain for me in such
engagements. It's in the little things, if they're willing to undercut someone else, then you're probably next. Just like if they won't honour a small invoice, how will you work for a big project together in the hope of getting paid next month?
3. Trust your intuition: If it doesn't feel right, practice the pause until you establish what the problem is, get a neutral person's advice, your mentor or another business owner
4. Have a contract: Even if you know the person that you're going into partnership with; it is important to have a written agreement, that protects you both, especially where business and money is involved. If there's no harmful intentions then no one should be offended.
5. Don't undervalue your contribution: Just because you're a small business or a one (wo)man show, this doesn't mean that you should be on the losing end of the bargain. Often the reward offered is 'exposure'. Try and measure the tangible value of that exposure; as not all exposure will pay the bills. Be very selective with these types of collaborations, especially if the partner is getting paid & you're getting exposure.
6. Don't forget to bring a piece to complete the puzzle: Be a giver and not just a taker.