When you made the decision to start your business, how many people did you have on your team?
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you probably had only one: yourself. If you were lucky, you might also have had supportive partners (aka a spouse, children, parents, and friends) who cheered you on from the sidelines. If the stars really lined up for you, you were able to get a business loan big enough to let you hire one other person to help you in your start-up efforts. This is the way most entrepreneurs’ dreams get started.
That’s how I got started, too. When I first went into business, I busted my butt, making mortgage loans to as many people as possible. I kept my head down, worked hard, and always did the right thing for my clients. It eventually paid off. I had the opportunity to open a satellite office. But I had to build it from the ground up, and it was hard. I had to attract the right people, keep them motivated, and put the right processes into place to allow my team to be successful.
It worked. The company grew like crazy, going from five employees to 105 in a short time. In fact, the company grew so fast it almost killed itself. As the owner, I was running so quickly to keep up that I didn’t have time to create a long-term business strategy or pay attention to the economic indicators that foretold impending disaster in the mortgage industry.
Many entrepreneurs find themselves in the same boat. They’re so caught up in the process of getting their fledgling business off the ground that they don’t have time to look at the bigger picture. But the big picture is where the growth is.
There’s an easier way.
Strategic partnerships provide another avenue for growth. Rather than tackling everything solo, the company benefits from the strengths of each partner in the relationship. If well-executed, the partnership offers wins for both sides. In many cases, both partners become stronger as a result. This is the benefit of synergy.
We’re exercising this strategy now in my current business, Shamrock Roofing and Construction. We’ve introduced a new growth platform called Power Partners, and it’s been wildly successful so far. This program allows roofing companies in other markets to join forces with Shamrock to expand their reach and take advantage of Shamrock’s many industry resources. Our Power Partners benefit from Shamrock’s volume supply and materials discounts, lead generation and marketing tactics, industry training, and access to Shamrock’s financing program. Our partners can also enhance their reputation in their market by sharing in Shamrock’s many industry awards and accolades.
Of course, the Power Partners program is a way for Shamrock to gain a foothold in other areas of the country. But it’s much more than that. It’s also a way for roofers in other markets to grow their own businesses. By joining forces with Shamrock, our partners can focus on fixing roofs and running the business. We help generate that business by taking care of the marketing and other administrative tasks that often steal owners’ attention from daily operations. It’s a win for both sides.
So think about this: What partnerships could you develop that would help you grow your business while at the same time adding value for the other side?
I was told once that it’s better to work smart, not hard. I believe that working hard can get an entrepreneur a long way. But working smart, taking advantage of available resources, and creating synergistic relationships with strategic partners, will take you farther. And you’ll have more fun along the way.