Working together takes you further than trying to figure everything out on your own. You can use the experience and knowledge of other (starting) entrepreneurs from your network. Together you are stronger and you have a better chance of success with your company.
Especially if you are starting a business alone, collaboration is important. There is a need to share your knowledge and skills as well use other people’s skills too. This is the only way you can continue to survive as a self-employed person.
- Build a network
It might be exciting, but getting to know new people is the first step in working together. Do your research, where do you find those fellow entrepreneurs?
2. Working on flexible workplaces
It is a good idea to work in flexible workplaces where many other self-employed people come. You never know where you will meet that new client. So you can be at the place just taking to the next person and before you know it, they are hooked on what you are trying to sell to them.
3.Become a member of starter groups
You can also join starter groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. This is a very good place to get good connections regularly attend network programs and attend relevant events, such as the annual Starters Day of the Chamber of Commerce.
4.Start the conversation
Start a conversation with someone with an interesting company and get to know each other. Tell everyone what you’re doing and ask other startups for advice. Some people refrain from sharing their ideas. I get it, they are fearful they might steal it. But no idea is totally original. Every idea is a rehash of an existing idea so don’t be scared to share your idea. Who knows, the person you share it with might just give good advice which transforms a rather good idea to a great one.
You are probably all busy solving the same questions. So think along and share your insights. This way you create your own council of advice and you might be able to work together.
Be personally liable for mistakes of your partner.
You can eventually sell a company. If all partners want to remain self-employed, you can start working for your joint BV. If you don’t want that, you can opt for a cooperative with or without a license agreement.
This agreement is useful if a partner has a leading role or invests more in the collaboration.
- Don’t rule out occasional collaborations
Collaboration doesn’t always have to be so official; you can also spontaneously decide to do something together with the entrepreneurs in your area.
As a bookstore, you can, for example, give away an ice cream from the ice cream parlor next to you in the summer when you buy a book. And in your lunchroom you can exhibit art by emerging artists.
Or organize an event together with another entrepreneur, such as a wine tasting in a kitchen store or a fashion show in a restaurant.
As a webshop you can give your customers discount codes for other webshops (and they will do the same for you). This way you benefit from each other’s customer base and you can bind more new customers to your company.
- Barter with other entrepreneurs
You sponsor the local football club with shirts, which then hangs your billboard next to the field. This is a good way to build a network and save costs.
Feel free to ask the party with whom you may be working whether a barter is an option. Note: you must also send an invoice and pay tax when bartering.
- Connect with the right organizations
Contact the right organizations. Collaboration with other relevant companies and organizations is often the most effective way to arrive at innovative new products, according to research by Panteia/EIM.
But how do you find another company with whom you can find the gap in the market together?
Surf the Internet. Check the newspapers.
Go to meetings and meet with the experts in your field. Invite yourself to workshops that specialise in things like this.
- Apply for a subsidy
There are various subsidy schemes that support innovative collaborations, especially if your company falls within one of the top sectors.
External advisors have a good idea of which companies exist and with whom you could work together. You may also be able to collaborate with knowledge institutes or the government.