By: Melanie Berkowitz, Esq.
June 3, 2012
Have you seen the commercial for Taco Bell’s new “Dorito shell” taco?
Even if you do not personally eat fast food, millions of people do. By joining forces with a wildly popular snack food to create a unique menu item, Taco Bell is gaining attention, new customers and bigger sales.
Joint ventures such as these, or strategic partnerships, are a hot small business trend -- and not just for Fortune 500 companies.
Monster first reported about this small business trend nearly six months ago. And others agree.
Charles Gaudet, marketing expert and founder of Predictable Profits suggests in an article for SF Gate that it doesn’t take a lot of work for small businesses to take advantage of the joint venture trend.
First, take a look at your customer base and your company brand, and then think about a related product or services that your company does not provide that your customers may want.
Next, look for another small company that provides that product or service and work together to market both businesses to an expanded customer base. Social media marketing strategies are particularly effective for joint ventures because they can be created specifically for the joint venture without interfering with either business’ other marketing efforts.
Remember: the best joint-venture partners are symbiotic and non-competitive. Both entities should be able to benefit from the partnership without having to compete for customers. A yoga studio that partners with the local smoothie bar to promote a new “zen balance” juice drink can benefit both entities.
But that yoga provider should think twice about partnering with a local dance studio that wants to expand its class offerings; there are too many opportunities for one side to steal teachers or customers from the other.