This comes in response to an email I received via the BSH Elite Members email hotline from Lucy in Hull, UK who wants to learn how she can get more customers from joint ventures for her gardening business.
Her email says …
hi paul hope its ok to ask you this but i am interested in what you gotta say about this. I started my gardening business about a year ago. I have all the machines I need and now I just need to grow my business. I feel a great way to do this is by joining with other businesses to help each other out. What do you think? Who do you think I should join with and how do I approach them? Any help you can give would be great. Thank you so much. Lucy
Firstly thank you so much for taking the time to email me Lucy… I love talking about all things business; I am sure we can help you today.
What you are talking about when you say about joining with other businesses are called Joint Ventures, which is where you join with other businesses similar to yours to promote each other because those businesses are targeting the same customers as you do. What you are basically doing is feeding work to each other in your customers best interests. For example a plumber and a vinyl flooring fitter would work well together, so once a plumber has fitted a new bathroom or kitchen the flooring guy would go in and fit a nice new floor, or a building company and a conservatory company would work well together.
You know I think joint ventures are so essential to virtually every business on the planet that if you do not have a network of businesses promoting each other or you are not part of such a network, then you are definitely missing out on tons of cash.
So, now we have discussed what a joint venture is, the question is Lucy, who can you join with in your gardening business?
You don’t say in your email if you do domestic or commercial gardening or both, but I will assume you prefer to do one or the other, or find one much more profitable than the other. While we are talking about that remember with everything from the Business Super Heroes that we focus on the business activities that generates the profit you need, then we work at finding the customers who will give you that profit because without the profit there is no point being in business at all.
Here are a few initial thoughts on who you could join with:
• If you prefer doing domestic gardens then you could join forces with those who prefer to do or only do commercial gardening or vice versa. If you are not geared up with all the equipment for one or the other or you simply don’t enjoy one or the other then it makes a heap of sense to join with another company who does what you cant or dont want to do
• Could you join a company that lays patio slabs
• Could you join with garden landscapers who doesn’t offer a gardening maintenance service
• Would it be worth joining up with local handy men and other trades people?
• Would it be worth joining with driveway fitters who can call you in after they have laid a driveway so that you can tidy everything else back up again and sort the garden out around their new drive way?
• You could also try tree surgeons and fencing companies too.
Always try to think “outside the box” as much as possible and include as many people as you can in your list, and always try and imagine your target customer and what they will be doing in their garden and what their garden will look like. For example would it be worth joining forces with a manufacturer of bespoke garden seating or barbecues for those evenings out in the garden?
So, how do you figure out who you can join with? A great way to figure out who you can join with is to picture your target customer. Who is your target avatar, or your ideal customer? Is it a he or she? Who makes the buying decision? What sort of income do they have? What pain points do they have that you can help to solve? Where do they live?
Just as a quick thought as well – make sure that whoever you buy your supplies from knows your exist and you have a great relationship with them too because if they know you are just starting out they may be happy to recommend you to others.
Looking at the second part of your question which was how can you reach out to other businesses there are a number of ways you can do this.
Firstly, you could try networking groups such as BNI, though there are lots of other networking groups available out there. Simply Google networking in your area and you will see a lot of them. Networking groups work brilliantly at getting people from all sorts of trades and professions together so I would definitely recommend that.
You could also pop into your target alliances’ offices with your literature to introduce yourself. If you do this make sure you are fully prepared to answer any questions they may have and have a great impact pack ready to go to show them quality pictures of your work.
For those who are reading this who don’t know what an Impact Pack is this is what those at Business Super Heroes carry about and is a folder containing testimonials, photo’s, certificates of insurance, and everything else you can think of to highlight the quality of your work.
You could also try writing an email or sales letter, though I would probably try a hard copy sales letter or a personal visit first. Sending an e-mail is probably my least favourite method for local companies to join with other local businesses as they are so easy to ignore, are very impersonal and may well end up as spam.
Do just remember as with all of these things that it is all about people and people buy from people, and no matter how good you are if people don’t like you or know your exist they won’t use you or recommend you.
No matter what you decide to do you are absolutely right in thinking that joint ventures will work brilliantly for you. Not only are joint ventures an amazing way to get more business but are also one of the cheapest ways to get great a ton of great quality business too. In my business I still get calls weekly from other businesses I have made friends with and kept in touch with from well over a decade ago.
I hope that has helped Lucy … good luck!