Joint venture relationships have been around since the dark ages. As a small business owner, it may seem like you have nothing to bring to the table, so why bother attempting to begin a relationship with another business if you have nothing to offer?
The answer is that you might have something very valuable to offer. If you don’t, your goal is to build something that you can offer – more on this later.
But let’s back up and begin with clarifying what a Joint Venture (“JV”) is. A JV is a strategic alliance where two or more parties form a partnership to share clients, knowledge, and, of course, profits.
For example, say you specialize in romance travel. You create a JV with a jeweler. The jeweler promotes you as their recommended romance travel expert via in-store advertising, their website, Fan Page, e-newsletters, etc. All of their associates make verbal recommendations to their clients as well. You in turn, recommend the jeweler to your clients via your website, Fan Page, email newsletter, etc.
The most common question about JV strategies is, “What can I offer the potential joint venture partner?” The answer is exposure to their brand, service and/or product via your PLATFORM.
Your platform is the combination of your distribution channels. Your platform is HOW you deliver your message about your travel services. Your platform is the size of your:
A. Email list
B. Facebook Fan Page
C. Twitter Followers
D. Pinterest Followers
E. Direct Mail Lists
As an entrepreneur you PLATFORM is your CURRENCY. The way you form powerful partnerships is through your ability to deliver VALUE to others.
This very lucrative strategy won’t work if you are not actively building your platform. AKA: Facebook Fan “likes,” email list, Twitter followers, etc. Your platform is how YOU are valuable and marketable to prospective potential partners who you can give exposure to.
The name of the game is visibility and exposure. Everyone wants it and everyone needs it…. no matter what business you are in. So build your platform and you can then go after joint ventures with confidence in your ability to articulate your value.
Review your platform and assess how strong it is. Before you go and pitch a potential JV, you must have something to offer them. Put systems in place to grow your Fan Page, Twitter followers, email list, etc. You are in the travel business and sometimes you need to focus more on your business vs. travel. Take stock of how you can deliver value to others and make sure you are always growing your network.