have provided examples of some of the more basic small-business alliances in an
effort to explain the concept and spark your imagination. We would be happy to
discuss our larger and more complex arrangements personally.
who lives in Houston, Texas, teamed up with John, who lives in Holland, by communicating
over the Internet. Together, they worked out a plan to help a New York City
tour operator increase his tour business. All work is being done on the World
Wide Web, and all conversations and "meetings" accomplished by e-mail.
- Joan owns a successful independent doughnut shop.
She bases her advertising entirely on trade. She gives boxes of her high-quality
doughnuts to select radio stations for daily giveaways. In return, they speak
highly of her doughnuts on the air. It's not unusual to hear a morning DJ go on
and on about how wonderful her product is. She has increased her morning sales
by 60% as a result. The cost? A few boxes of doughnuts that might be thrown
- A veterinarian, Elizabeth, wrote
a personal note to all her clients advising them that Companion Pet store was
having a sale with super discounts on all items. John, the pet store owner, agreed
that Elizabeth could offer her clients a further discount when they presented
one of Elizabeth's business cards. In return, John placed one of the veterinarian's
brochures in every bag at the checkout counter, along with a letter of endorsement.
Both businesses improved considerably.
owned his own trading card and comic shop. He catered mostly to school-aged children,
and like so many small businesses, inventory was a problem in the beginning. But
Theo was a serious collector of sports memorabilia, himself, and decided to joint
venture with some of his collector friends.
In exchange for funding,
he offered them a share of the profits from buying and selling baseball and
other trading cards they had financed. Theo bought cards in case lots with money
from the investors and sold the cards in his comic and card shop, then shared
the profits when they were all sold.
owned Flowers and More, and counted a number of businesses among her regular customers
- funeral homes, wedding organizers, and so on. As these businesses had grown,
so Flowers and More grew. Now, Delores needed a second cold-storage unit to handle
the extra demand. Her bank would not agree to finance it, even though the extra
equipment would increase sales and boost profitability. What was she to do?
offered her larger customers a 15% discount if they would give her advance purchase
orders for the floral arrangements they were going to buy from her anyway.
They agreed. She took the advance orders to a finance company that helped her
purchase the cold-storage cabinet she needed.
loved animals. She wanted to start a pet-care service. When pet owners went
on vacation, many did not like to leave their animals in a regular kennel, so
this business woman offered to visit her customers' homes several times a day
to feed the cat, walk the dog and so on. She thought this would be a business
that did not require any up-front expenditure.
She soon found out that
people were reluctant to let a stranger have access to their home and possessions
while they were away. So Jean approached an established kennel with an alliance
proposal. She would offer the service under their name, pay them a commission
for every pet cared for, in return for the kennel putting up the money for a surety
bond to protect the customers.
The kennel agreed. They were able to
expand their business by providing a service to customers they would probably
have lost anyway, and this enterprising lady got started in her own business with
no financial outlay. She later expanded her business to 14 employees and hundreds
- Brian owns a book store. The weatherman
at a local TV station wrote a book of local weather statistics. Brian called the
manager of the TV station and offered to do a co-operative promotion with the
They placed the weatherman's book in Brian's store, even
had the weatherman do in-store appearances, which resulted in promoting the store's
locations for the appearances, in addition to promoting the radio station and
Back to Top
used car dealer, Sam, obtained his inventory of used cars from auctions.
He made his purchases with money from private investors (whom he found among his
regular customers). These investors were promised a share of the profits from
selling the cars to the public.
This was a wonderful joint venture deal
for everyone - the dealer had his inventory financed at no interest; the investors
had their investments fully secured by the cars; and they were also able to
double their money in a very short time with relatively little risk.
a Realtor, has her own real estate program on local talk radio. She has arranged
for sponsors (title companies, mortgage providers and others) to pay the fees
charged by the radio station.
Denise might have provided her time
for free, to gain the exposure, and let the station sell advertising time. For
the Realtor with less ambition, appearing regularly as a real estate expert on
someone else's show can be just as effective.
an enterprising baked goods manufacturer, had grown his company by securing good,
solid business supplying supermarkets with fresh-baked breads and cakes, and had
recently landed a contract with a chain of bakery outlets. He needed new equipment
to supply this increased demand.
Don was buying approximately $15,000
to $16,000 worth of flour every month--nearly $200,000 per year. He approached
his favorite supplier with a joint venture proposition. He would sign a contract
to purchase $800,000 worth of flour over four years if the supplier would provide
the $40,000 needed for the new equipment.
The supplier agreed. The
deal gave the baker free equipment, amounting to a 5% discount on his flour purchases
- $40,000 / $800,000 = 5% - and the flour supplier landed a locked-in, long-term
customer. Both were very happy. (Actually, the supplier didn't put up $40,000
cash. He used his good credit to purchase equipment for Don and made monthly payments
for it, out of the money Don paid him for the flour!)
pharmacist had a very large customer list and always sent out Holiday cards to
her list every year. A local jeweler offered great prices, but was having difficulty
establishing their new business.
The pharmacist mailed to her list in December,
as usual, but instead of sending out the same old holiday card, she offered her
customers a "special gift" to thank them for their patronage.
pharmacist told the customers on her list that if they brought that letter to
the jeweler, that they would receive 20% off of any item in the jewelry store.
The jeweler would not lose any money since their markup is so high. Furthermore,
he would receive new customers who would likely buy from him again and even recommend
The letter from the pharmacist not only offered the discount
as a gift, but recommended (endorsed) the jeweler by explaining a little about
the jewelry business and how the pharmacist saved a bunch of money on her own
They made $75,000 dollars in two weeks. The pharmacist
got half the profits and more than a few "thank-you's" from her customers.
These are just a few examples of some of the simpler
alliances. Contact us to see what me might be able
to arrange for you.
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