Special Thank You – to my friend Liz Lynch for this Guest Post about the power of partnering!

While many of us who start our own businesses or who become solo professionals value our independence, we quickly find more value in having people at our side to give us extra strength, visibility and insight in the market. And so we get out there both in person and online to network and build relationships.

It’s great to meet new people and learn what they do, and it’s even more exciting when you can find a great deal of synergy between your goals and theirs. This is when you can start to explore referral partnerships or strategic alliances.

These are collaborations you can create with other entrepreneurs, professional service providers or small businesses owners that can open up a whole pipeline of new business for the both of you and strengthen your respective brands.

Partners can help you:

Build more customer trust and loyalty. The more resources you are able to share, the more completely you can serve your market. This will help you be seen as a go-to resource and allow you to transition from mere service provider to trusted advisor.

Break into new markets more easily. Building awareness of your products and services in a new market takes time and money, but you can shortcut some of the process by leveraging the trust and credibility of your referral partner. If you provide copywriting services for financial advisory firms, for example, you can offer the same services to insurance agents by partnering with someone who already serves that market but with a non-competitive offering.

Get a new perspective. If you have trouble navigating your new client’s bureaucracy, or just want to bounce ideas off of someone who knows the players, you can turn to your referral partner for important insight and feedback.

Become a stronger competitor. You can take the referral relationship a step further by partnering to create a bundled solution for your market. By connecting your products or services together, you can provide a more complete answer to your target market’s needs, saving them time and energy in gathering all the elements themselves, and giving you an edge over competitors who offer just one piece of the puzzle.

Allow you to think big. Sometimes you don’t see the full potential of what you can create in your business until you see what others are doing, how you overlap, what their strengths are, and where you can take the relationship further. That’s when the fun really begins. In working together, you might discover new products to create or new expansion opportunities that you would never have thought of tackling on your own.

Partnerships are most powerful when all the parties benefit. It’s about being open and sharing, and knowing that when we help others, we also help ourselves. For a great example of this, visit www.SmartNetworkingNow.com to see the power of partnerships in action.

When you’re there, you can learn more about Liz Lynch and her book “Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online” – a must read for anybody looking to build relationships authentically and strategically – and sign up to receive a gift package of Liz’s 11 Smart Networking Tips and additional bonus gifts from her partners (including yours truly!).