Why Collaboration Helps Your Small Business Grow

Why Collaboration Helps Your Small Business Grow

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re either just starting a new business, about to start a new business, or looking to grow your existing business. Whatever it may be- yay! Exciting times. And also, there’s a whole lot of work ahead (which can also be exciting, btw). 

I’ve started a variety of businesses over the years. Some of which are quite similar to one another- and others that are drastically different. One of the constants I’ve seen as far as success and growth goes is leaning into collaborations along the way. 

This post will outline what collaborations are, examples of how they work, as well as 5 tips to consider when entering into a collaboration. All of which will set you up nicely to go out there and find your first collaboration today!

Why Collaboration Helps Your Small Business Grow

What is Collaboration in Business?

Nowadays, when we hear the word collaboration, you probably think of an influencer with vocal fry talking about her latest collab- which is slang for a brand partnership. While there is certainly a level of collaboration to be seen in brand partnerships in influencer marketing, that’s also not at all the only way you can collaborate to grow your business. 

Collaborations mean working together toward a common goal or interest, while also equally benefiting both (or all) parties involved. The key component here is that it’s equally beneficial to all parties. Otherwise, it’s likely not going to be as successful, because it feels imbalanced in some way.

While partnerships often mean there’s an exchange of money in some way (hiring, commission, etc), collaborations are typically a trade of services. Not always. You can certainly still collaborate in a way that still has a financial exchange. However, trading services is a really helpful thing for smaller business owners to remember when seeking out collaboration opportunities. 

How Do Business Collaborations Work?

There are so many ways that business collaborations can work, and all of that really depends on what your business model is. As I have a huge yogi readership, I’ll use a few yoga examples just to get your wheel’s turning. 

Say you’re about to lead your first retreat, and you really want a photographer to come, but you can’t afford to pay for it. Instead, you could offer a photographer to come on your retreat for free in exchange for the full retreat tuition (usually the photographer’s fees and the tuition are pretty spot on). Yes, they will be capturing events from the retreat. But they’re also able to participate in all of the classes and activities totally for free. Also, you don’t need five million photos of every class- because they start to all look the same. So, they end up being able to really participate as a full student on the retreat. 

Here’s another one:

A long time ago I was hosting a donation-based yoga class to fundraise for my non-profit. I wanted to have a raffle to try to raise a little extra money, so I reached out to popular yoga brands to see if they would donate a pair of leggings, yoga mat, or whatever they could spare really. I didn’t have a huge following at the time (like no more than 1,000 people). But the cost of donating a pair of leggings for them was so minimal it didn’t really matter. Don’t forget that just because those yoga pants are retailing for over $100, doesn’t mean it costs them that much to manufacture them. 

Last one:

I’ve taught almost every retreat with another teacher. When I held my first retreat, I chose to bring on two other teachers not only because I was a new teacher- but also because I didn’t really have much of a reach at all. And I knew this would help it to fill. This style of collaboration is less about an exchange of services, and more about hiring for a job- but I still make sure to work with people that I feel represent my yoga school authentically. It’s beneficial for them. Because they get the experience of teaching on a retreat without having any of the financial risks involved. 

Tips To For Successful Collaborations 

5 Tips To For Successful Collaborations 

Hopefully the above examples of how Collaborations can work for small business have got you thinking about the best ways for you to collaborate in your own unique field. Before you start sending out a million emails now, take these 5 key tips into consideration first. 


We’ve all seen the collabs that just feel off, haven’t we? Sometimes it’s obvious, and sometimes it’s subtle. Regardless of the reason, chances are that it feels off because it’s misaligned in some way. 

Let’s not forget that as much as I love business, I’m still a woo woo bitch- so you know I’m going to mention energy here. Energy is that feeling we get when the collaboration or partnership is misaligned. While being unaligned in values or ethics might be a little more clear cut, something that’s obvious at face value. 

Either way, you want to make sure that the people and brands you’re working with are in alignment with who you are, and what your business is all about. That doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything, and if you don’t- they’re cut. It just means that on a foundational level, it makes sense. You get along. It feels good. It’s real. Otherwise, consumers can sniff that out a mile away. 

Overlapping Industries

When you’re looking for that perfect person or business that’s in alignment with your own, you’ll probably find that you’re naturally in overlapping industries. This is sort of a given, because this will ensure that you compliment one another. 

Taking a look back at that example I gave about the raffle, I asked yoga brands because it was a yoga event. Sure, you can have some other items in there, too. But you know that the people attending will inevitably be stoked on yoga stuff, because they’re coming to a yoga class. This is also appealing for the brand who’s donating, because these people are their customers. Mutually beneficial, remember. 

Diversity in Audiences

This one can get a little tricky, because you’re in alignment and have overlapping industries- which can sometimes be a little too much sameness. The reason you want to make sure you have at least some level of diversity in your audiences is that this will ensure you both actually GROW from the experience. 

As an example, there are so many incredible yoga teachers I hire to come on my retreats. They’re all very skilled teachers, and we align ethically in a really cohesive way. However, our teaching styles aren’t exactly the same. Maybe they have a certain speciality that I’m just not that interested in. Or perhaps they have this other side of them that’s part of their brand like surfing, or climbing, or making jewelry. 

Having diversity in skills and audiences can provide YOUR audience MORE. Rather than forcing myself to learn everything about every bone in the body, because people are demanding more anatomy lectures- I can bring on an anatomy whizz who actually loves talking about it. This will resonate more deeply with people, than if I try to force myself to be someone that I’m not. 

So, look for someone who has a little extra flair that’s super different to you, but can still compliment the overall mission of the collaboration in a beneficial way. 

Mutually Beneficial

If I haven’t already drilled this one home enough, I’m just going to go off even more right now. 

If you have someone in mind that you want to collaborate with who you don’t already know, and you need to pitch yourself to them- then you MUST outline how this collaboration will be beneficial for them in order to get them to consider your message. Otherwise, you’re literally just asking a stranger for a favor- and no one has time for that. 

Most of the time, if we’re pitching ourselves or our business to someone else, it’s clear that the collaboration will be beneficial to you in some way. That’s why you’re pitching- they have something that you want. In order to really sell your idea, you have to think of it like any sale in that there’s an equal exchange happening.  

Written Contracts 

Look, I don’t care if you’re collaborating with your best friend, your sister, or a total stranger- get a contract written up. Depending on the size of the collaboration, you might want to get it written up formally by a lawyer. Otherwise, a simple do-it-yourself contract will probably suffice. 

I know that a lot of people think contracts are cold, and make the whole thing feel weird. Wrong. This is actually the kindest thing you can do for both parties. Because chances are, especially when you’re working with someone you’re close with, you’re going to be texting and voice-noting and DM’s and emailing about it. And then all of the sudden you can’t really remember who said what when, and things fall through the cracks and you both point the finger at the other in blame.

Having the collaboration written out in black and white in a saved document for you both to refer back to is a great way to make sure both parties are clear, on track, and in consensual agreement about it all. 

There you have it. I think you’re ready to jump into your first collaboration, don’t you? I can’t wait to hear how it goes! 

Have fun with it, my friends. 



Tips for Collaboration in Business
Posted in

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top