While some businesses have re-imagined their revenue models due to shelter-in-place orders and unpredictable reopening rules, other businesses are joining forces to revamp their revenue streams by pursuing partnerships.
Sometimes, the boost your business needs is right in your backyard. It just takes some creative thinking to identify, explore, and establish partnerships that can benefit both sides of the relationship.
Opening a Window
Filip Duz’s company, Giraffe Window Cleaners, services roughly 1900 square miles in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. When mandatory closures and COVID-related business restrictions set in, he knew he’d have to find revenue sources beyond his regular income stream.
Instead of working directly with homeowners as he typically has, Duz formed an alliance with several real estate agents.
“From my past dealings with real estate agents and home stagers, I knew that real estate agents place a big focus on making a home look great before selling,” he says. “Naturally, clean windows are a part of making a home look presentable for selling, so a partnership made sense to me.”
To get his partnerships started, Duz located a list of the top 1000 realtors in his metro area. From there, he sent text messages and made cold calls, introducing himself, and asking if the agents needed help cleaning the windows on homes their brokerages had listed for sale.
The plan worked gangbusters for Duz and his partner agents.
“When a realtor needs to prepare a home for a showing, they reach out to us to schedule a window cleaning,” he says. “This benefits us because it provides a steady flow of work for our crews. The real estate agency benefits from having a reliable partner that provides consistent, high-quality window cleaning at a moment’s notice.”
Doubling Down on a One-Stop-Shop
As a gutter and window cleaning service in Austin, Texas, Full Color Cleaners owner Benjamin Nguyen knew his team always had an eye for identifying their customers’ needs.
“When we perform any one of our exterior cleaning services, we’d usually discover things that are broken or damaged and needs a specialist to come fix it,” says Nguyen. “We’d only ever pointed it out to the customer, and they would go out and search for a specialist themselves unless we had family or friends specializing in those services.”
But this year was unexpected with the pandemic and many businesses in the Austin area struggling. Instead of just pointing out things that might need to be fixed, Nguyen and his team started to call service providers they had relationships with to help their clients fix what needed fixing.
Nguyen started his outreach for potential partners with business owners he’d networked with in the past. Knowing they needed to add multiple services to their partnerships, Nguyen reached out to fellow local Austin-area businesses, including those offering roofing, pest control, landscaping, and plumbing.
“The outreach process is quite fun because small business owners are always thrilled and happy to talk about their business,” he says. “That really helped us build a good relationship with them from the start.”
Now, Nguyen’s business – and those he partners with – all get a referral fee when they refer customers. His customers get the satisfaction of knowing Nguyen’s team is bringing solutions to their problems. Full Color Cleaners has built up a robust set of local business alliances that will continue to power a new revenue stream even through reopening and beyond.
“It comes full circle, everyone helping out each other,” says Nguyen.
Planting Seeds for Growth
Farmers have been hit particularly hard, first during the trade war of 2019, and now the pandemic of 2020. Farm Lease Pro, an online marketplace where farmers and landowners connect to lease farmland, recognized the need their customers had to find ways to bring in revenue when COVID caused slowdowns in the supply chain.
“Each day, many older farmers are retiring, and trying to figure out how to monetize the equity they have built up in their land over decades,” says Madison Woodward, founder of Farm Lease Pro. “The property taxes are high, and the maintenance bills keep coming while income is down.”
Woodward was actively looking for ways Farm Lease Pro could add value to their cash-strapped clients during these difficult times. He reached out to a similar marketplace, HLRBO (Hunting Lease Rental By Owner), to explore a partnership idea. Both farm and hunting leases are an avenue for landowners to generate income off their land while providing hunters and farmers the ability to use land that they might not be able to purchase outright.
“Farm Lease Pro has a large user base of landowners making money off of farm leases, while HLRBO has many landowners who are earning revenue from hunting leases,” says Woodward. “We joined together to provide landowners with another opportunity to monetize their land without selling it, while also helping farmers and hunters find the land they are looking for.”
Now, both Farm Lease Pro and HLRBO have an uptick in business, and both farmers and landowners are enjoying revenue from previously untapped revenue streams.
Whatever your line of work, there’s always a creative partnership waiting to help you and a potential partner grow your business. It doesn’t take a challenging economy to see that a strategic plan for businesses joining together can help every member of an alliance reap new rewards.