I’ve always believed in the power of working together and what can be achieved – more done in less time for example! If we get clever in our approach to collaboration big things can happen. We can truly leverage the power of collaboration and make a difference.
“Collaboration is the act of joining together to make possible that which would take longer to accomplish alone.”
- Profile raising – accessing specific expertise, create more value, wider reach, list building
- Increase productivity – More can get done in a shorter period of time because of the spread of tasks that need to be fulfilled
- Increases profitability – larger goals can be met with shared risk & resources
- Fosters diversity – rich knowledge bank to tap into, generating more ideas and possibilities in a supportive way
Here are a few considerations when collaborating:
- Make sure everyone involved understands what the goal is and that they believe the goal is worthwhile; possibly creating a mission statement
- The overarching goal of collaboration is to achieve something together that you would not be able to achieve alone or that would take much longer were you to do it on your own
- Be clear about expectations. Whether you’ve known each other forever or just met assume nothing. What exactly is each party bringing to, and getting out, of this collaboration and how?”
- Have written agreement: be clear about boundaries, such as what’s proprietary and who owns what
Openness & Knowledge Sharing
- Get all involved to think about the things that we could do to achieve the goal.
- What experience do those involved already had that can work? What pitfalls can be avoided?
- Nothing is ‘invalid’ until it has been looked at, discussed and discounted by the collaborators for a more fruitful idea
- Appreciate other contributors perspectives; they enrich the project
List & Allocate Tasks
- Write down all the tasks that need to be carried out & ask who’s interested in taking on the task and allocate accordingly
- Everyone needs to participate, to do their bit!
- If necessary outsource the unpleasant tasks! Making people feel they have to do something is not always a good platform to collaborate from. Collaboration costs can also be kept down through sharing or recommending relevant service providers
- Let everyone find their strength and work therein to contribute to the common goal
- If you’re looking at your list & feel overwhelmed, speak up!
Linked-In Communication Channels
- Use multiple communication channels that those involved are comfortable using to ensure input comes from everyone.
- How will you update on your activities?
- How will issues be dealt with and recorded?
- Who needs to be contacted for specific assistance?
- What’s the backup plan if someone drops out?
- Where will information and progress be kept? (Cloud – Dropbox, Skype – calls, Face to Face Meetings – necessary?, Email – when best to & avoid overload)
- Everyone is engaged not taking a ‘wait & see’ approach
- Use the communication channels to let everyone know how things are going
- If you need any help or if there are any changes required let it be known ASAP
- Know the sequential tasks so that if someone is waiting for you to finish something before they can begin, you are prompted to let them know you are on track or running over
Branding the service or product
- Ensure the message is consistent with the needs of the market it serves, the language the audience understands and the values of the collaborative team
- Be mindful how you present it, write about it and talk about it. Language & image matters
- If “they” the audience don’t understand the message(s), “they” won’t buy it, support it, or promote it. Find analogies in everyday life to engage them
- Social Media Messages
- PR Templates
- Marketing Activity Timelines
- The audience will be looking for the WIIFM!
- Taster Sessions
- Give them as much as you can without causing overwhelm or underwhelm!
- Promote the benefits, not the features
- There should be some metrics by which you can monitor your outcomes. It might be using traffic analytics, sales, list growth or such like as a measure but it must be something!
- Note everything as if you were project managing so you can create a template for future collaborations.
- Was the goal achieved?
- How did the team do?
- What went well, what could have been done better?
Ask For Testimonials
- Collecting testimonials and feedback is valuable to all collaboration partners as they are a reflection of everyone’s effort
- If you have provided real value asking for a testimonial is a breeze
Not only will it provide you with an understanding of your customer’s experience, it will also serve to influence others to invest in your products and services
Seems like such a straightforward thing to do why would it need to be in this list? It’s all too easy to forget to say thank you in a collaboration because in essence you have all ‘put in’. However appreciation goes a long way and as with anything else input, especially quality input, should not be taken for granted!
Initiate Future Collaborations
If everything has gone according to plan or if other ideas came up in the initial discussion that could be worth following through on, initiate a conversation about future collaborations or better still, make it part of your ongoing strategy.
Opportunity Knocks – They Are Everywhere!
- There are opportunities all around to collaborate so start having conversations with business associates &/or customers to identify them. Listen to what people do and who they target. If the audience is similar or if you want to get in front of a new audience come up with creative ways to work together.
- Avoid operating from a place of fear where you feel you have to hide what you are doing in case someone else steals your idea.
- Remember there is power in numbers!
- It’s not about giving business away it is about giving your customers more of what they want thus getting their loyalty and sharing the load; win-win-win
If you find the right people to collaborate with big things can happen… Give it a go to make your business grow!