What is Business Collaboration? An Extensive Guide
So many multi-million dollar businesses owe their success to collaboration. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know! This guide walks you through the world of collaborations.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Collaboration is the way that many businesses, large and small, scale to the top. Successful collaboration is a key part of entrepreneurial life.
Being a good collaborator helps raise your profile in your industry. It can also help you break income ceilings as your business catapults to the next level.
This guide is all about mastering teamwork in business. We hope you’ll find it useful!
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
What Is Collaboration?
Collaboration is when you work with one or more people on a collective project.
Sounds vague? Well, collaboration comes in many different flavors.
The Different Types of Business Collaboration
This is an internal type of collaboration as it’s within the company. An individual team will work on a common project from big to small. For example, your marketing team may be collaborating on the Christmas advertising campaign for this year. They’ll need to come up with ideas together and create editorial calendars.
This is another internal style of collaboration. Different departments within your company can work on a project. Let’s take that aforementioned Christmas campaign. The marketing team may need to collaborate with the executive team. Together they’ll figure out the KPIs for the campaign and the target earnings. Having a collaborative workplace really helps bolster company culture.
Strategic Alliances and Partnerships
This type is external business collaboration. You team up with one or more businesses to create something together. This could be a long-standing partnership where you have a deal to support the other. For example, we at FreshBooks have a partnership with PayPal. Alternatively, you could be partnering on one specific project. As a photographer, you may partner with Sony to promote their newest camera.
Collaborating with your industry peers or wider community is great. It really cements your business as part of the ecosystem. Let’s take an Italian restaurant as an example. Community collaboration could look like creating a fundraiser for the local church. Donors can vote on the newest pizza flavor they introduce.
Innovative collaboration is one of the biggest benefits of having a business community. You get the best opinions from your competition! A good example is with event planners. They will often reach out to other event planners to help with each other’s events.
Supply Chain Collaboration
Last but certainly not least, your supply chain. If you rent an office, your landlord is a collaborator. If you have a bakery, your flour supplier is a collaborator. Every person you interact with to get the best final product from your business is a valuable connection.
What Makes Effective Collaboration?
- Mutual Benefits
A good collaboration benefits all parties involved. You have to be driving towards a common goal with your project or it doesn’t work.
- Equal Dedication
The workload may not be purely equal. Take an editorial shoot for example. If you are the creative director of the shoot, you have more work on your plate than the studio space does. They are just renting you space.
However, all parties involved need to have a baseline need for this project to go well. Remember the times you had group projects in middle school? There was always that one kid who slacked off and made things harder for the rest of you. When one party in the collaboration doesn’t care as much, it shows.
A good collaborator knows when to compromise. It’s pretty normal to have disagreements and mismatches in partnerships. The trick is to find a middle ground that works for everybody.
A pro tip here is to ask how much everyone in the room really values the thing you are disagreeing on. One party may care 50% about this one contention point. You may care 80% about it. So you can more readily compromise when you know how much the issue cares about each person.
- Collaboration Tools
There are great options out there for collaboration technology. FreshBooks includes a project management and collaboration tool that makes it easier to work with others. You can learn more about it here!
Effective business collaboration is very fruitful if you do it right! Fostering a collaborative culture will create a sense of community. Relationship building with allies and your business community leads to innovation. You can take your business to the next level with the help of others.
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