Collaborate to accumulate

Sometimes when you work for yourself you can feel that you are trying to dress up your offer to potential clients to make it sound, fresh and of intrinsic value to their business.

Your offer will evolve but essentially, to the customer, it probably looks no different. That’s not a bad thing – think Heinz Beans. You wouldn’t want to mess around with that offer too much.

So why not offer add-ons to make your service or product stand out? Working in conjunction with others who you know, and trust is a good start.

You should have people in your network who share your values, and probably your frustrations too.

From my experience more and more self-employed people are teaming up to offer a range of services. In many cases, a pic n mix approach where customers can choose from a menu of complementary services to your own.

Your collaborators will bring something extra to the table, a holistic approach which addresses more than one problem and creates a new opportunity.

It’s very rare that you will work with a client who is running at 100 per cent efficiency once you’ve done your job. You might go in to look at an aspect of marketing and find out there is no business plan in place, the web site hasn’t been touched for a year and there are problems in recruiting and retaining staff. Dare to scratch the surface and see what lies beneath!

Another advantage with collaboration is that you double, triple or quadruple up on your own marketing activity. Merging networks is a powerful tool.

Its worth remembering that this is not a formal partnership. If it works, great. If not, you can move on and try something new.

I would advise doing some market research before you start. You can sound out existing clients, friends, associates to see what added value they would pay for. With that, you are good to go test the market.