Small business owners can find more clients by becoming active members in the local business community, whether by joining a local business chamber of commerce or through industry groups, or just attending business social events and local trade shows. By interacting with local businesses a small business owner has the best chance at locating companies that can be excellent joint venture partners that are currently servicing their exact demographic. The following, highlights a few of the most important aspects of developing joint ventures through participation at local business community events.
Find Industry Groups / Business Owner Gatherings
Determining the type of companies and people that are required to develop the relationships needed to create successful joint ventures is the first thing required before identifying where to meet them. There are lots of places to find information about local business groups and trade shows for industry groups. A few Google searches for trade shows and a specific location will result in lists of venues and upcoming events. Attend relevant events that would be interesting for pursuing companies and individuals of interest to your business. One good source for finding local events is Meetup.com where there are plenty of business / entrepreneur focused groups where business owners get together to talk about business topics as well as industry groups that are interested in a specific niche, like software developers that get together to talk about industry topics.
Develop Relationships with Business Decision Makers
When at business functions and events as a small business owner it is best to focus energies on meeting and spending time talking with individuals that are decision makers. At business events and trade shows time can be wasted interacting with a sales rep that is just looking for sales opportunities. This can be good if there is an existing customer base for your business that aligns with their product or service, but if the desire is to locate new existing customers for a business through joint ventures, spending time with executive management is key and it’s best to avoid the typical sales rep just pitching products and services.
Establish Joint Venture Partnerships with Local Businesses
Reaching out to local businesses to become joint venture partners is a proven way to find more clients in a specific region. For most small business owners the focus is on servicing the local community with a product or service and so developing partners with other local businesses can quickly expand brand awareness to the right demographic of customers. Local business owners will be easier to develop relationships with regardless if a business is planning on only servicing a local region or planning an eventual national or global launch. It’s important that each joint venture is successful to build momentum in the market and maintaining strong communication between partners is more easily done when decision makers for each business are close enough to meet in person.
Don’t Sell – Find Champions Who Sell
When meeting business executives and business decision makers it is important to not spend lots of time selling a product or service, instead develop relationships with others that can become a champion for your product or service to their existing customer base which will lead to your business finding more clients. Build a personal relationship first even though attending business related functions, the business part will always come, but learn the kids and spouse’s names and other details through the conversation to be used in later conversations to develop a personal relationship with a potential business partner. By the time a partnership agreement is on the table and discussions about how to implement the marketing strategies for promoting the joint venture the terms will always be more favorable than if approaching joint venture partnerships from a strictly business perspective when dealing with local business owners.