Philosophy and Business

Partnered for Success

Two heads are better than one. That phrase is as true with solving puzzles and composing music as it is for business. It’s also the idea behind strategic partnerships and collaborations. In a strategic alliance, two companies with similar audiences and shared values intertwine their efforts to create new opportunities for both parties.

Partnering with another brand that can offer added value to existing customers can be very beneficial. For a truly strategic partnership, the alliance must generate more sales, expand reach, and appeal to existing clients across both brands. For example:

Starbucks and Barnes & Nobles. A comforting drink and a good book have always paired well. So, it’s no surprise that in the early 90s, Starbucks became the exclusive coffee supplier for Barnes & Noble. While shopping online for a book is convenient, Starbucks and Barnes & Noble have given book lovers a reason to visit a store in person.

Target and established designers. Target’s reputation for its partnerships is legendary. They’ve partnered with renowned architect Michael Graves, prominent fashion designers Isaac Mizrahi and Lilly Pulitzer, and most recently, well-known television personalities Chip and Joanna Gaines. Each partnership has made high-end designers more accessible to a mass audience and positioned Target as the go-to retailer for chic, affordable design.

While these examples are of big-name businesses, small businesses can also benefit from strategic partnerships. Before you can determine what type of collaboration would most help you, you’ll need to assess your own needs, priorities, and challenges. Then you can focus on what to look for in a partner. Consider the following:

Do you have a similar target audience? Your audience does not have to be precisely the same, but you should share an appeal to a similar demographic. For example, if your audience is wealthy, you don’t want to partner with someone that offers short-term personal loan services.

Do you offer complimentary services or products? You want to make sure your products and services add value to your partner’s customers, but do not compete with them.  You will get the greatest benefit from a partner who offers a different service from you with a similar audience. For example, a paint company would do well partnering with a home design company. 

Do both parties benefit? The most successful strategic partnerships are those where the benefits are mutual.

Partnering with another business can be incredibly successful. It’s an effective way to improve business and boost awareness. Now that you know what to look for in a partner, you are ready to start your search. Best of luck, and keep me posted!

The Importance of Evolving your Brand over Time

Nike. McDonald’s. Coca-Cola. Apple. Do you know what these companies have in common? They’ve all stood the test of time, resonating with consumers and staying relevant regardless of how long they’ve been in business.

At the start, a business might only provide one service or product – for Nike, it was track shoes, for McDonalds, it was hamburgers, a soda fountain refreshment for Coco-Cola, and a circuit board for Apple. But ask any successful entrepreneur and they’ll tell you: there’s no growth in the status quo.  The only way to grow and stay competitive and connected is to adapt. That means offering more goods and services, reexamining the ideal client, researching new revenue opportunities. In short, it means evolving the brand.

Here’s how to adapt and evolve your brand in order to stay up to date and reflective of the time.

Review your brand frequently. Business owners are constantly reviewing and reworking company processes and procedures. Branding should have that same consideration. Revisit your branding on a regular basis to ensure it still reflects your company and how you want it to be perceived. Don’t try to do too much. “The more, the better” might work for butter on your popcorn, but it doesn’t work for branding. Small changes will happen naturally, especially as your industry and technology evolves. And while small changes are good, be careful about the big changes. You don’t want to change so much that people don’t recognize your business anymore.

Listen to feedback. The most important people you need to listen to are the customers, even if the feedback is critical. How else will you learn how they perceive your brand? Negative feedback might feel discouraging, but it’s the best roadmap to guide you to revamp a product or service that’s not working for the customer. If recent history has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t predict the future. We can’t predict what our customers will need in five years, five months, or even five weeks. The only thing we can do is be open to new ideas.

Come On, Get Happy!

Jason Training Employees at Bal Harbour ShopsI get asked a lot about how I always seem so happy. The answer is simple: I love what I do and who I do it with.

OK, the dry cleaning and rug & drapery cleaning business admittedly isn’t the most glamorous… But my team is. No matter the industry, a business is ultimately about the people. As a team, we make each other happy… what’s more glamorous than that?

When I first started Sudsies and Rugsies, I spent a lot of time finding others who share my vision and caring passion. Having a commonality in our emphasis on integrity and character makes it authentic and easy to work with one another. Together, we’ve created a culture, a real community, where we thrive on helping each other and our clients. Even when one of us is having an off day, the smiles and support from the other members transfer back that positivity.

Want to know what else keeps me happy? Giving people a purpose, myself included. It’s not enough to just be surrounded by great people; the group should serve greatness too. I enjoy helping others, not only by providing them a position within the company, but also by ensuring that they receive every opportunity to learn, grow, and be empowered to find their highest role. It could be sending them to continuing educations seminars, providing leadership guidance, or granting them the freedom to get creative when assuring that the client has that above-and-beyond experience that bonds them to both the person and the brand.

So there you have it, my secret to happiness. Yes, it first has to come from within, although helping others also find a piece of contentment is what sustains an overall deep satisfaction for all… The best way to jumpstart your own journey to happiness is simple. Smile!