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Boost your small business with a partnership or sponsorship

If you’re a small business owner looking to take things to the next level, you might be wondering how exactly do to that. Well, you’ve come to the right place. 

Sponsorships and partnerships can be powerful tools for small businesses to achieve success and propel their growth, if done right. While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between partnerships and sponsorships for small businesses. We’re going to walk you through those differences and how they work in practice, with some examples of famous brands doing the absolute most to maximise their profitability and exposure.

A small business sponsorship typically involves a business or individual providing financial or other resources to support an event, project or initiative in exchange for exposure and recognition. For example, a local bakery might sponsor a community charity event by providing baked goods, and in return, their logo and name would be prominently displayed at the event and in all the advertising. Sponsorships are a way to gain visibility, reach a wider audience, and align your brand with a particular cause or event. Many consumers will look more favourably on your business if they see you are making a difference in your local community, leading to positive subconscious associations with your brand. 

On the other hand, partnerships are more mutually beneficial. They involve collaborating with another business or individual so that both parties get more than just exposure from the arrangement. Partnerships are typically more long-term and involve sharing resources, expertise and customer bases. This can be done through various arrangements, such as joint marketing campaigns, cross-promotion, shared distribution channels, or even co-developing products or services. The key to successful partnerships is finding like-minded businesses that complement your strengths and target similar customer demographics. 

There are some pretty legendary examples of famous brands joining forces to maximise their impact. The thing that these tag teams all have in common is that they are complementary service offerings that enhance one another. For example, the camera manufacturer GoPro, a popular tool for extreme sportspeople to document their wild rides, teamed up with energy drink company Red Bull on a series of cross-marketing campaigns. While the connection might not be immediately obvious to some, both GoPro and Red Bull have established themselves as lifestyle brands associated with adrenalin, action and adventure. This is an image that is partly the result of Red Bull’s generous sponsorship of extreme sporting events across the world. Their sponsorship track record includes a record-breaking free jump from space, with the jumper wearing a GoPro to document it all for the viewers at home… Do you see where we’re going with this?

Now, you may not be as big or successful as Red Bull (yet!) but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for you to get creative with other businesses in your area or industry. If you want to leverage sponsorships and partnerships to boost your small business’s success, here are some sure-fire ways to start.

Identify your goals for your small business partnership

Decide what it is you want to achieve through sponsorships or partnerships, and whether a partnership or a sponsorship is the best way to get there. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, reaching new customers, or accessing additional resources, having clearly defined objectives will guide your decision-making process and give you a better idea of how to move forward.

Research small businesses to partner with

Look for businesses or individuals whose values and target audience align with yours. Remember the case of GoPro and Red Bull? Both brands used the other to define their own customer base and brand attributes more clearly, and you can do the same. Consider reaching out to complementary businesses in your industry or even those in related industries to explore collaboration opportunities. A great example of this is the collab between the online mattress company Casper and high-end furniture retailer West Elm. The former doesn’t sell bed frames, and the latter doesn’t sell mattresses – and generally people need both. So when they teamed up to put Casper mattresses in West Elm stores, the sales of both businesses got a big boost. 

Develop & hone a compelling pitch for partnering with another small business

When approaching potential sponsors or partners, clearly communicate the benefits and value your small business partnership can provide. This is why identifying and articulating your goals and objectives at the start is so important: it will help you hone the fine edge of what it is you have to offer. Explain how the collaboration can be mutually beneficial and emphasise how your offerings can complement each other.

Collaborate on marketing campaigns

Consider joining forces on marketing initiatives such as joint social media campaigns, co-branded content, or hosting events together. This allows you to tap into each other’s customer base and expand your reach.

Share databases to maximise your small business partnership 

Collaborating with the right partner also means sharing resources and information. Consider sharing customer databases (with proper consent) to leverage each other’s networks and gain insights for targeted marketing strategies.

Measure & evaluate results

Regularly assess the effectiveness of your small business sponsorships and partnerships. Track key performance indicators, such as increased website traffic, sales, or social media engagement, to gauge the success of your collaborations. Make adjustments as needed to optimise your efforts.

Remember, your business funder can also be a valuable behind-the-scenes partner. When you’re looking for a funding partner, look for one that is as invested in growing your business as you are. A good funding partner will work with you to find the best funding solutions to successfully grow your small business.

Oh, did we mention that we’re that funding partner? At GroWise Capital, we’re passionate about helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses, partnering with like-minded individuals to help you scale your business quickly and successfully. 

We specialise in providing South African small businesses with fast and flexible cash injections, sometimes in as little as 45 minutes. No fuss, no muss – you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

Get in touch with us today and let’s work together to boost your business.

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