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30 May 2023

Small Businesses, Big Dreams - How to Make Magic Happen Through Collaboration

For independent business owners the struggle is real, every day is a challenge, competing against big businesses, online shopping, and just trying to get noticed on the high street, however there is a secret weapon that will help win the battle: collaboration.

It’s easy to feel like you are on your own, responsible for everything from finances, marketing to day-to-day operations. Here is where collaboration is a game changer, making your life a little easier, creating something truly unique that customers can't resist, while finding your business soul mate. But how can you unlock the power of collaboration and give your competition a run for their money?

Joining Forces

Teaming up with other independent shops, cafés, restaurants, bakeries, or butcher shops bring major benefits to your business by leveraging each other’s strengths, resources and expertise.

· Increased exposure - Teaming up, provides the opportunity to reach a new audience that may not have known about your products or services before. Collaborating taps into their existing customer base, leading to increased sales and greater brand recognition for your business.

· Supercharge your campaigns - Dividing marketing and advertising costs creates more robust and successful campaigns, with shared social media posts, co-branded emails, or joint print or digital media. It’s like having your cake and eating it too...only without the calories!

· Networking – Spreading your wings and meeting other independent business owners in your community leads to valuable connections, advice, and new opportunities.

· Innovation and creativity - Pooling resources, knowledge, and expertise, businesses can create unique and innovative products and services that have the potential to drive growth and success.

· Community building - Fostering relationships with other independents is like making your own business family, building a stronger sense of community and shows customers you care for more than just your bottom line.

· Cost savings and increased efficiencies - When two businesses share a common supply chain, you can leverage your combined purchasing power to negotiate better prices and improve delivery times.

But the benefits of collaboration go beyond just increased exposure and sales. Working alongside others you learn new skills, gain fresh perspectives, helping improve your own business practices and achieving greater success than you would on your own.

Opening Doors to Collaboration

Finding the right collaborators can be daunting, but with these simple first steps, you'll be on your way to identifying the perfect match for your next project.

· Identify potential partners - Look for businesses that complement yours, check out their websites, social media accounts, and read any reviews or testimonials, you never know who you might stumble upon. For example, a café could partner with a local florist to offer flower arrangements for special events, or a bookstore could cosy up to a nearby coffee shop to host a book signing. Collaborating with other businesses in this way gives a unique competitive edge that cannot be easily replicated by your competitors.

· Reach out – While connecting through email or phone can be effective, meeting face to face helps establish a stronger connection, demonstrates your commitment, and builds trust between two parties. Swing by in person and explain what you do and how you think collaborating could benefit both parties.

· Discuss the collaboration - You've piqued their interest, and now it's time to take things to the next level - set up a meeting. Be prepared with creative ideas, such as joint promotions or events, it's all about finding that sweet spot where both benefits. Be open-minded and willing to compromise, who knows, you might just create the next big thing together.

· Set goals and expectations – Collaboration agreed, planning starts. Set clear goals and expectations for each party involved. This includes what each will contribute to the project, what they hope to achieve, specific sales targets, a timeline for completion, and a marketing plan that outlines promoting the partnership to your target audience.

· Complete & evaluate - Follow through on your commitments and keep communication flowing, it's important to take the time to reflect on how it went, identifying areas for improvement, making the next collaboration even more epic.

Working together is like completing a puzzle, each bringing a piece that fits together to create a bigger and better picture, a win-win situation where everyone grows and develops together.

Collaborate and Conquer

There's nothing quite like the buzz of collaboration, as two or more creative minds join forces to create something truly special. From brainstorming sessions over coffee, to late-night work sessions fuelled by pizza and laughter, the possibilities are endless.

· Host a workshop or event – Sharing the costs and the workload, you can both reap the benefits without breaking the bank or burning out, you bring the skills, they bring the expertise, and together you create a partnership that’s hard to beat.

With this exciting opportunity comes the responsibility to ensure your business is protected from potential risks and liabilities. An important aspect of this is having public liability and product liability cover in place.

In order to keep costs low Expression Insurance provide £2m or £5m public and product liability cover as standard allowing you to attend workshops, events or farmers markets, if you are looking to attend on a week in week out basis, please contact the team at Expression to discuss current cover limits and if additional cover is required.

· Cross-promote products & services - Tap into the ultimate power of teamwork as you showcase products, or services on each other’s social media accounts and watch follower’s skyrocket. Just a few clicks on social media or a quick email blast, and you've created a marketing powerhouse.

· Create a joint product or service – Combine the strengths of both businesses, for example, a bakery and coffee shop collaborate to create a breakfast pastry and coffee combo. From bakery and coffee shops to fashion and beauty, the possibilities are endless, two heads are definitely better than one.

· Participate in a trade show or fair – Sharing a booth or display area, cuts costs, not only do you get to showcase your products or services to a wider audience, but you also get to tap into your partner's network, attracting new customers. Plus, by sharing resources, you create a stand that's even more eye-catching and memorable than if you went solo.

· Referral discounts - Offering referral discounts to each other's customers creates a network of happy customers who keep coming back for more. It's like a referral chain, where everyone wins - your customers get a great deal, the other business gets a new customer, and you get some serious kudos.

Expression Insurance is passionate in supporting independent businesses and our #sharethelove referral campaign is one of the ways we demonstrate this. If you share Expression with other independent businesses in your community, you can earn £50 every time one of them purchases a policy. Not only that, but everyone who purchases a policy will get £50 thanks to you too.

· Share resources - Sharing equipment or office space, not only cut costs, but also increases efficiency by tapping into each other's expertise and knowledge.

· Sponsor an event - Pooling resources to sponsor an event not only increases your visibility, but you also get to give back to the community by supporting a great cause, creating an even bigger impact and have fun while doing it.

· Create a bundle deal - What's better than one great product or service? Two great products or services bundled together. Mix and match the best of what each business has to offer and create a deal that's too good to resist, plus, by bundling your products or services, you can tap into each other's customer base and reach even more people.

· Collaborative blog or podcast – Provides an opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with your audience while also learning from another great business. Exchanging ideas and working together creates content that is both informative and engaging, reaching a wider audience, and increasing exposure for both businesses.

· Volunteer - Giving back to the community is not only a good thing to do, but it can also be fun when teaming up with another business who shares your passion for making a difference. You not only contribute to something meaningful, but also build relationships with like-minded individuals and businesses, while making a positive impact.

Spread the word

You've put in the hard work and created an amazing collaboration with another business - now it's time to spread the word and let the world know.

· Social media channels - The key  is to keep it light-hearted and fun with posts that are engaging, shareable, and showcase the unique partnership between both businesses. Here are some ideas:

o Take a selfie with your collaborator, posting it on Instagram. Use funny captions like "when bakers and baristas unite, magic happens! #collaboration #coffeeandcake #yum

o Create catchy hashtags that both businesses can use on social media promoting the collaboration.

o Share on Facebook a behind-the-scenes video of both business teams, encouraging followers to tag their friends in the comments.

o Create a Twitter polls asking your followers which products they're most excited to try or buy. Use hashtags like #sweetcollaboration and tag your collaborating business for retweets and sharing with their followers.

o Share a series of Instagram stories featuring the new products, menus, or event, use stickers and GIFs making it fun and engaging, not forgetting to tag the collaborating business.

o Finally, don't forget to ask your followers to share your posts to reach a wider audience. You could offer a special discount code or a free product to anyone who shares your post and tags a friend.

· Email marketing - Email blast your subscriber list announcing the collaboration, explaining how it benefits them. Make sure to include a call-to-action that prompts them to take action, such as visiting the collaborating business or making a purchase.

· Local press - Reach out to local news outlets, bloggers, or influencers seeing if they would be interested in covering the collaboration in their publication or on their social media channels.

· Host a launch event – Offer exclusive discounts or giveaways creating a buzz around the collaboration and provides an opportunity for customers to experience the partnership in person.

· Collaborative website landing page – A powerful tool to highlight your products and services to attract new customers. By partnering with a business that caters to a different audience you can expand your reach and tap into new markets, leading to increased exposure and growth. Remember to explain the partnership in detail, highlighting offers and discounts and how customers would benefit from the partnership.

· In-Store signage – Display posters in-store is a great way to promote the collaboration, encouraging customers to take advantage of it by capturing their attention and raising awareness. For example, if a restaurant and a local winery partner to create a special “Wine & Dine” menu, the collaboration can be promoted through in-store signage such as posters encouraging customers to try something new.

Remember, the key to spreading the word is to be creative and authentic, don't be afraid to try new strategies and have fun with the process.


Collaborating with other businesses not only helps expand your reach, but also creates a sense of community that customers can't resist. Whether it's through joint promotions, events, or other initiatives, collaboration can help independent businesses thrive in a competitive marketplace and create lasting relationships with other like-minded businesses in their community #collaboration #smallbusinesslove #communityovercompetition

Discover how Expression supports independent business owners who love their business, and their customers visit

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