Collaboration: The New Standard In Your Operating Procedures.
27 Nov 2020
3 Min Read

Today, collaboration is almost universally recognised as a positive term, both culturally and economically.

SMEs that use collaborative working can bring increased value for money, better quality, reduced waste and more efficiency. By working with others, it is also possible to create greater business opportunities and operate at higher levels in the supply chain.

By working together, SMEs can increase their ‘offer’ and capabilities, and create more opportunities while removing some of the barriers that traditionally existed.

There is no doubt that the old adage is just as true in our industry today as it ever was: two heads are indeed better than one. In fact, looking at the future, perhaps we should be replacing that assumption about ‘two heads’ with ‘multiple heads’.

With the world of business growing and developing rapidly and with the increased demands on companies to deliver complex packages of work, it is becoming more and more difficult for SMEs to meet all the challenges and conditions outlined by the customer. To strengthen your position in the marketplace, forming a collaborative partnership will allow you to deliver.

There is always a reason to collaborate. Collaboration is a powerful tool for SMEs, regardless of the industry you are in or the type of business you have. It is the connections you form with others and the different ways you collaborate with those people you formed connections with, that will help you grow your business to new levels. Here are five reasons you should care about collaboration.

1. Collaboration Will Inspire You 

It is easy to get into a routine during the day-to-day operations of your business and forget that there may be a better way to do something, different techniques to try and new tools that can save you time and money. 

While blogs, magazines, and books can provide inspiration, if you are not communicating, sharing, and discussing that information, the benefits are limited. It is vital to get a fresh perspective, trigger your creativity, review incoming information objectively, and add new context to the data you are gathering so you can use it effectively. Going beyond what you do and see each day to explore collaboration can be inspiring and help you think in a new way.

2. Collaboration Helps You Grow Your Network 

Successful entrepreneurs have a common interest in meeting new people and building a list of contacts and colleagues. Being successful in business requires that you consistently make connections and form alliances. Imagine how your business would dwindle if you continued to network with and sell to the same group over and over again.

While every contact you make may not result in collaboration, every time you reach out to someone to explore the possibility, you are expanding your network.

3. Collaboration Is Educational

One of the biggest benefits of collaboration is the opportunity for learning. In fact, every interaction you have with someone outside of your immediate circle can teach you something valuable. Some of the most successful collaborations involve two professionals who bring two very different skill sets, perspectives and strengths to the table. When this happens, you are certain to be surrounded by learning opportunities.

4. Collaboration Can Help You Save Money

Many collaborative relationships involve splitting intellectual contribution, hands-on work and, sometimes, expenses. If you collaborate with another business and part of the terms involve sharing development and marketing expenses, you can double your budget while reducing costs.

In this case, you can be fairly certain you will be getting a bigger bang for your buck than you would be if using only your own resources, provided all of the parties involved are equally invested in the success of the collaboration.

For example, a company might share trade booth space with a complementary partner, then co-market their participation. This can attract more foot traffic and add resources to enhance the experience visitors have at the booth.

5. Collaboration Solves Problems 

There is a reason crowdsourcing is so popular; there is an undeniable power in numbers. If one person can't accomplish something on his or her own, two or three or more people may be able to get it done. Hence the creation and proliferation such platforms as fund societies, pitchIN and Mystartr.
Think about the last difficult problem you faced in your business. When we get stumped, most of us immediately go to a partner, mentor, or other trusted resource who acts as a sounding board and helps us work through the problem. The harder the problem is to solve, the more we can benefit from getting the input of someone outside of the situation. And when you add new viewpoints and experiences to the mix, the end result will often transcend what you originally set out to accomplish.

6. Collaboration in Action Is Win-Win 
One wedding planner in Kuala Lumpur became a valuable one-stop shop for couples by hosting tastings that let its dishes be sampled while introducing local wedding caterers, photographers, florists and location specialists.
A popular coffee shop placed key products of a local fashion designer, giving promotion to the designer while enhancing the ambiance of its establishment at no cost.
The good news is that SME collaboration doesn’t necessarily require a significant time or financial investment if you think creatively.

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