Overwhelmed with running your small biz? A collaboration strategy could be the answer

October 5, 2012

If you’re like most small business owners, you feel the weight of the business is entirely on your shoulders. You do everything – from planning, and sales, to marketing and finances. Of course, in an ideal world you could hire all the people you need to handle the various roles so you can focus on what you do best, but that’s not usually possible. So what else can you do to share the load of your business?

The one successful strategy is collaborating with others, especially those who compliment your skill sets. There are many benefits to having a strong, inspirational partnership with a collaborator on projects. With the extra help you’ll be better equipped to dazzle clients with even more clever ideas and focus. Here are 3 ways collaborators can help you excel:

1. Increasing your capacity

Having a partner means having someone to bounce ideas off of and help you avoid creative block. Idea Drunk discusses the benefits of having a creative partner to keep you motivated and consistent. Plus, with increased (wo)manpower, you can take on bigger products and bring in more revenue. In addition, you have the built-in bonus of having an immediate copy editor who can let you know what’s good and what belongs on the chopping block.

2. Helping you build critical decision-making skills

Not only do you get an immediate editor – you also have the opportunity to be someone else’s personal editor. It may not seem to be the most desirable position, but you can gain unique insight into the customer’s sensibilities by playing the role. By helping your partner chop away unnecessary details and finish the product, you can better understand how the customer might react to or critique your product. According to an article by the Academy of Management Executive, “dissent and opinion is a natural part of the controlled chaos”  and can lead to better decision-making.

3. Offering valuable support

The biggest benefit of having a creative partner is having a constant ally. Not only can both of you bring different clients to the table, you can increase your own credibility by associating with someone who submits strong and consistent work. This also means that you have a personal advocate who knows your work ethic and can attest to your abilities – serving as a great reference on your portfolio of work and as a great source of personal inspiration. A great reference is the five great ways to form a strong creative partnership on Freelance Switch.

Minding obstacles

According to Inner Confidence Coaching, there is such a phenomenon as over-compromising. While it’s important to come to common ground in any relationship, personal or creative, you always want to avoid hacking away at your work so much that there’s nothing left of you in it, and maybe too much of your partner.

Any partnership means there’s also a shared responsibility for quality and meeting deadlines. If either you or your partner misses a submission or produces less-than-stellar work, it is a reflection of each others’ abilities. The most important thing to focus on is setting up expectations prior to starting work, which can include writing a detailed Memo of Understanding (MOU) to act as a reference for what each person is responsible for.

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.