Effectively spread the word about your small business by partnering with a complementary company. This type of strategic partnership puts your product in front of customers who are outside of your current network, expanding your reach exponentially. This idea is the essence of co-branding and is especially effective for small business owners who need to make the most of their smaller marketing budgets. In best cases, a mutually beneficial business relationship forms, and both -- or all -- of the companies involved experience increased exposure and profits. This scenario represents co-branding at its finest, and it all begins with a co-branding proposal.

Partnership Companies


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Identify companies with whom your organization's mission and core values align. Complementary visions are the foundation of any successful co-branding partnership. Read "About Us" pages and observe how these companies do business to evaluate their partnership potential.

Identify what you have to offer a potential partner. Whether you're a fledgling start-up or a larger organization, pinpoint why another company would want to align itself with yours. A large network, a youthful following or the ability to mobilize your followers to take part in something are all assets.

Decide what you need and how the other company will help you reach that goal. If you need more exposure, perhaps you should co-brand with a company that serves a complementary market that you have not yet reached. If you desire a youthful new following, perhaps you should partner with a young, fresh brand.


Begin your proposal by introducing yourself, your organization and how your companies align on a fundamental level. This will help the other company to see your vision and why this partnership will be mutually beneficial. At this stage, your proposal might be as simple as a brief email.

Explain your partnership ideas, subtly placing emphasis on how you'll be able to help the other company. Your ideas might be as simple as a social media campaign or as complex as a new product line. Keep your end goals in mind so you'll be able to discuss and set favorable terms for both parties.

Explain that you're open to hearing the other company's collaboration ideas and suggest a time to discuss things in depth -- preferably over the phone. If the conversation reveals partnership potential, an in-person meeting should be arranged to hone in on the terms of the partnership.

Decide how and when this partnership should be carried out. It is wise to consult your lawyer to put the terms of the arrangement in writing. If you need more time to decide whether the company is a fit, maintain the relationship over time. It is possible that a more appropriate collaboration opportunity will present itself in the future.


Keep the fundamentals of your brand in mind when considering co-branding partners.


Don't inflate or lie about your company's current reach or status. It is important to co-brand based on realistic expectations.