When I first started out, I was so eager to market my business, that sometimes I may have crossed the fine line between self-promotion and aggressive marketing tactics. Since then, I have learned that it always better to take things one step at a time and build up slowly.
This is especially true when it comes to approaching individuals for collaborative efforts and partnerships. The whole idea behind a successful partnership or collaboration is that both parties benefit from the deal, not just one individual.
Here are some tips for writing a successful business partnership proposal.
Give, Before the Ask.
Ideally, you should start with a soft outreach campaign. What this means is making an appearance and general introduction. This should be done by following the individual on their social media accounts. Leaving comments on their blog posts and sharing their content via social media. Once you have the initial building blocks in place, then send a brief complimentary email, remember no proposal yet, you’re still building the relationship. Once you’ve established a rapport, then you can send a business proposal for consideration.
But what should you include and what makes a successful business proposal?
Follow these general guidelines below, and you’ll be well on your way to building successful partnerships.
1. Personalized Salutation
If you’re following the tips above, this shouldn’t be an issue. But let me tell you, how many emails I receive daily that do not include a personalized salutation. Everything from Dear Webmaster, Sir, Madam, and my personal favorite, Hey You! Nothing says that you don’t care more than a non-personalized salutation, especially when the email address contains the recipients first name. Take the time to personalize your email and make sure to spell their name correctly, the small details matter. And never, copy and paste your press release into the body of an email, take the time to write a personalized note just for them.
2. Being Abrupt
What would you do if you received this email?
“Give me your phone number, so I can tell you about my business” yup, me too, delete!
Again, if you’re following the tips above this shouldn’t be an issue. You need to take it one step at a time. Sending abrupt emails will not only make a bad first impression, but nobody is going to respond to your query, so now you’ve wasted your precious time and burned a bridge. Make your emails short, sweet, and concise. Always start your email off with a complimentary word about the correspondent, and then get into why you’re writing. Remember to remain positive and polite throughout the entire email.
3. No Ideas
Before you jump into writing your business proposal, take some time to think about the logistics, and research your potential business partner.
- What exactly do you want from the individual?
- What do they get in return?
- How will it be executed?
- What is the timeframe involved?
I can’t tell you how many individuals have approached me about partnering in some shape or form, but then had no clue on the logistics or even what they wanted out of the partnership. Do your due diligence and research the best ways for you to work together before sending over your business proposal. Many individuals will have an FAQ section on their website, seek these out and see if your questions can be answered there. Remember people are busy, so you need to respect their time.
4. No Value
These are samples of emails that have been sent to me …
- Can you take a look at my site, and post a link to it on your website. Wording for the link is included below.
- I just opened a new store. Could you spread the word?
- Our book has been nominated for an award. Please vote here, you can vote daily until March 30th.
Besides failing in the departments of personalization and abruptness, these business proposals fail to offer any benefit to the recipient. When you send a business proposal there needs to be some benefit in it for the recipient. If there is not, you are asking a favor. And believe me, there is etiquette for favor asking in which you need to consider your relationship with the recipient, and what the task involves. If the recipient does not personally know you, they could find your email to be spam. If they decide to hit the spam button, you’re out of luck. Not only have you killed the connection, but again you’ve wasted your valuable time.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” and nothing is truer than when you’re writing a business proposal. Telling me that my traffic sucks, or that my list is too small, does not give me warm fuzzy feelings; in fact, it does the complete opposite.
When you insult someone that you’re trying to work with, you immediately put a sour taste in their mouth, and the chances of them working with you are little to none. If you have a recommendation for them, make sure to spin it in a positive light.
Collaboration and partnerships can be a great way to give your business a boost, but, if you're only in it for yourself — you've already defeated the purpose of working together. In which case, you should forgo trying to build your business in this manner. But, if you see in value in working with others, use the tips above to cultivate and nurture the relationships before you send over your business proposal. By taking the time to research and develop these connections your collaborations and partnerships are much more likely to be successful.
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Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she’s been able to figure out how to find a career path that you’re truly passionate about. Holly’s had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman’s Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.