Due to the relative ease of starting and running a business based on the internet, a change has developed in the way people view businesses. The number of small specialized businesses is exploding, while large corporations continue to provide impersonal service and collect massive profits for a limited range of products. People are beginning to reject the large corporations and their “vanilla” offerings, and turn to smaller businesses who provide specialized products and services, and who ofttimes provide better, more personalized service and even custom made products, thereby better meeting the customer’s needs.
A new concept in business is emerging wherein small specialized businesses work with other small businesses in related areas and refer customers to them, rather than being in cut-throat competition with them. The customer is better served, the businesses can focus on what they do best, and a symbiotic relationship develops which results in more business for all the participants.
One field in which this type of relationship exists is web-related services. A business that specializes in web design may refer their customer to another person who specializes in search engine optimization (SEO) once a site is built. In the process of building the site, they may subcontract the services of a programmer. In turn, when the SEO company or the programmer needs a designer, they may refer or subcontract the business to the designer who previously referred business to them.
However, there is no reason you shouldn’t apply this model to the business you are in, and indeed, you may already be doing this. Whether this idea is new to you, or you’ve been engaged in this type of business already, here is an idea you may not have thought of using.
Cross-promote with other businesses on the web.
The barter system is probably the oldest way of doing business – you have something valuable to others, and they have something valuable to you, so you trade. Take this concept and apply it to your online presence. Are there companies that you refer clients to, or who offer complimentary products and services to what you have? Do you have friends with sites where you could trade out a little bit of space on each others’ sites so that you all can reach more people? Having a small ad, coupon or picture with a clickable link and returning the gesture is a great way to offer and receive help. This is different from link-exchange schemes where you contact anyone and everyone and link back and forth. I’m talking quality here more than quantity, where there may be a handful of related websites that could apply. Too many of these would muddy up your site and you don’t want to distract most of your visitors with ads for other companies. Having a few of them won’t hurt you in terms of losing visitors, while still allowing you to reach new territories at the same time.
When you and the rest of your circle spread the wealth around, everyone wins.