You hear it all the time online…
“Joint Ventures are the key to success!”
So how do I create a joint venture? Can it work for my business? Who do I approach to do a joint venture? With special permission I am happy to share the following article from Andrea J. Lee’s 39Lessons.com.
Andrea demystifies the world of joint ventures and gives some super simple tips that you can apply to your business immediately. Like they say, no great thing is ever done alone. Enjoy!
PS – Interested in Joint Ventures but would rather someone else do some of the work for you? Read along to the bottom of this article…
First and foremost, what is a joint venture?
Simply put, a joint venture is something two business owners decide to do together, to the benefit of both businesses. For example, writing an ebook together. Or, sponsoring a conference together. Perhaps even sharing a Virtual Assistant. More often than not, it involves cross-promoting something…you share my product with your list, I’ll recommend your service to mine.
‘So what?’ you say? Well…listen up.
In all the things you’ve studied and learned to date in this series of lessons (see 39Lessons.com)…this may be the one you find most appealing.
As an owner of a helping business, there is one thing I know about you, and that is you enjoy being of service to others. Leveraging this fundamental trait is going to be a lot of fun as we discover the world of joint ventures for you.
Why Joint Venture?
There are lots of reasons to pursue a joint venture. Here are a few; see if you can add any that pertain to your own circumstance:
- Make more money. By accessing your joint venture partner’s client database, you have the opportunity to make more sales. Although you’re building your own database, your joint venture partner can endorse you to her list with an introduction, paving the way to new clients.
- Lighten your workload. Many hands make light work when it comes to any project. If you decide to offer a teleseminar together, perhaps you’ll do the marketing and your joint venture partner will create the content. Whatever permutation of this, you’ll do less work and still cross the finish line.
- Increase creativity. Loneliness is a common experience among online business owners. Joint venturing combats this, and as an added bonus, often leads to better ideas for products because two brains are better than one.
- Pave the way for future projects. Once you try a joint venture, and you find the right partner (more on this below) you may find yourself hooked. By starting small, you get to know your partner, and can make wise decisions about how you could work even closer next time.
- Have fun. After all, inspiring or helping for a living is a gift in and of itself…when was the last time you thought about waiting tables or something else for a living? Sharing the joy of running an online business with someone who’s in the same boat can really shine a light on how fortunate we are.
All benefits aside, Joint Venturing requires some planning
After seeing all the benefits possible, you may be tempted to run out and grab the nearest warm body and offer them a joint venture. Probably not the best technique. 🙂 That said, here are a few key points to bear in mind when entering the joint venture arena.
- Select your partners with care. The main criteria is that the partner should be someone who is already in touch with, or doing business with, people you want to do business with too.
- Get to know your partners. In preparation for approaching them with an invitation, sign up for their publications, visit their websites, read everything about them and their history. Try to understand their values and motivation as best you can from what they make public.
- Start asking, what value could I provide this partner? What do I have that they don’t? What could they be doing that they aren’t? What challenge or goals are they pursuing and how can I help them get there?
With this in mind, the best first step is to create a shortlist of potential joint venture partners. An excel spreadsheet would be nice since you’ll likely be tracking a few things over time.
Finessing the approach
Let’s say you’ve narrowed down your shortlist to 1 or 2. That’s a good number to start, because (important!) this is not an automated, mass campaign. Truly great joint ventures will take root only with a customized, personal approach…
What you may not know is that most people working online, no matter how successful, will usually be open to an approach from a stranger. It happens to be part of the beauty of doing business online, lucky us. Why is this? Probably because most online business owners realize, ‘you never know where then next great idea or opportunity is going to come along.’
So how do you go about making first contact?
By email or phone is fine, either way. The first thing to remember is be quick and polite. It might go something like this (a real letter I used late last fall, which led to a great joint venture relationship):
Hi (first name),
I see your ezine is going great guns, congratulations! I wanted to drop a quick line to let you know I’m working on an idea for X right now, which may be of interest to you and your readers.
It’s something that I think could make your customers lives more (productive/successful/happy/other word) and I would love to chat with you for 5 minutes on it by phone if you have the time. What do you think?
Thanks very much for considering it! My phone number in case you’d like to call, is XXX-XXX-XXXX.
Key points in an approach like this, simple though they are, is: be polite, open ended, personal and use a light touch. Whatever you do, don’t pressure, and be ready for this to take a little time.
Going for the Gold
Once you are in conversation, awesome. Use your abilities to listen and ask the right questions to guide you, and…be sure to bear in mind the golden rule of joint ventures:
Your job is to make their life super easy. Ask ‘what’s in it for them?’ Will you do something they don’t like doing? Perhaps you can offer something they don’t have access to? Whatever it is, approach the relationship from that point of view.
A DEFINITE Joint Venture No-No
Joint ventures really aren’t that complicated, but they can seem like it if you’ve never thought about it logically. That said, a definite joint venture no-no that happens far too often is this:
Do NOT, in any circumstances, approach a new joint venture partner (especially cold) without a real idea to propose.
In other words, do NOT approach a joint venture partner with the following:
‘So, what do you think? Wanna do something together?’
Big no-no. Why? For you to establish your value to this person, you need to come up with a good idea. It may not end up being the idea that you do together, however you need to at least approach with one.
Otherwise, if all you have is a vague ‘hey I’d like to do something together,’ you won’t have answered the question ‘why should they do anything with a stranger, when they can sit around and brainstorm with friends.’
(Note: This may be slightly different with colleagues you have a relationship with. AND, this can change once you’ve done a few things with a new joint venture partner. Given established trust and respect, free-flowing brainstorms can definitely come into play. Just not from the start.)
And, just for good measure, let me emphasize…don’t be in a big rush to make a joint venture happen. This is a relationship you’re cultivating for the long term, for ongoing benefit to both of your businesses. Don’t try to joint venture as a desperation tactic. And definitely be sure to make it easy for your potential joint venture partner to say yes…
Jump Starting Real Life Joint Venture Success
Helping online business owners find and create joint ventures that last the test of time is something of a special joy for me.
This year alone, I’m sure I’ve done thousands of dollars in added revenue based on joint venture relationships, and that’s truly without a great deal of effort. Perhaps I’ll amp up my own efforts now too! 🙂
Having replicated joint venture success for high-end consulting clients in a myriad of markets, I’ve come to realize that often it’s not easy for online business owners to see where potential joint ventures can come from.
Hence this lesson, which has been a departure from our usual question driven format. I hope you’ve found this useful, and take the time to seriously consider how to make this work for you.
As a side note, if you think you’d benefit from some personal help on this topic, have a look below and see whether the Joint Venture offerings we have there may be something you’d like to try.
Don’t get me wrong, you have everything you need to make this work for yourself, using the above.
But as this ecourse progresses, I realize that though everyone needs to know HOW to fish, sometimes they might just like to hand over the fishing to someone else for a bit. So this is our attempt at teaching the lessons behind making joint ventures work for the DIYers out there, AND offering something for those that would prefer to pay a small sum to just get it done.
Besides, I find it fun! 🙂 Enjoy.
Interested in Joint Ventures but would rather someone else do some of the work for you? Consider these two options:
1. The Joint Venture Startup Identikit
You answer approximately 5 questions I provide about the focus of your business, and I will research and identify a list of 12 potential joint venture partners including their website and additional contact information. The more focused your business is on a target market, the better the list will be.
The research I do for you will include internet research as well as specialized searched in association directories, clubs, and my personal rolodex. Your list will be unique to you.
Turnaround time is 1-2 business days, but this will depend on how many kits are in the queue. If you must have your report as soon as possible, let me know and I’ll do my best to accommodate you.
The Joint Venture Startup Identikit won’t contain a lot of detail, but if you review the list and like what you see enough to commit to next steps, consider ordering the Joint Venture Implementation Report.
NO LONGER AVAILABLE
US$47.00 (trial pricing is subject to change)
PDF file of the Joint Venture Startup Identikit will be delivered by email.
Note: If your business focus isn’t fine-tuned enough to generate a list of useful Joint Venture partners, your fee will be refunded in full. All purchases are backed by a 30-Day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
2. The Joint Venture Implementation Report
Provide a shortlist of 5 prospective joint venture partners, and I will create a collection of concepts and approaches along with ideas for putting them into action. Your shortlist may or may not include the information I created for you in a Startup Identikit.
The Implementation Report will usually be delivered via email in PDF format within 2-4 business days, but varies with demand. Rush service is available for an additional charge.
The Implementation Report is a minimum of three pages essay style, often more.
NO LONGER AVAILABLE
US$47.00 (trial pricing is subject to change)
PDF file of the Joint Venture Implementation Report will be delivered by email.
Note: Your Joint Venture Report comes with a 30-Day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. If you don’t feel the quality of the report was of value, I will be glad to refund you in full. (Unfortunately, although every effort will be made to facilitate a successful result by providing clear and sophisticated implementation steps, I cannot guarantee the end result of your partnerships.)