Launchpad’s Chris Edwards shares how to create real business opportunities through your network by establishing brand collaborations.
So you’ve joined a networking group, attended events and made connections – now what?
How do you create real business opportunities through networking? It’s a question that resonates with many entrepreneurs.
In this short, Launchpad founder Chris Edwards shares insights and strategies on leveraging collaborations and partnerships. Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or just starting out, this episode will provide valuable tips on how to expand your brand reach, reduce costs, and boost sales. So, let’s jump right in and uncover the secrets to unlocking business opportunities through your network!
In this conversation, we learnt…
– How brand collaborations can help with business growth (00:21 – 01:23)
– The dark side to partnerships and collaborations (01:40 – 02:36)
– Four key things to successful collaborations (02:54 – 05:49)
– The many shapes and sizes that collaborations may come in (05:49 – 06:25)
– Other business opportunities you can get from your network (06:25 – 07:45)
“What is a brand collaboration? It’s when two brands join forces to market themselves.” (00:43)
There are notable examples of brand collaborations such as Spotify and Uber, Doritos and Taco Bell, and BMW and Louis Vuitton. In the case of Launchpad, Chris has engaged in cross-promotions with Boutiques Singapore, the Conscious Festival, and more recently, partnered with Green Queen for their anniversary event in Hong Kong, while also collaborating with Uncommon in Singapore. These instances highlight successful brand and business collaborations.
“Even in our Launchpad community, it’s the members that show up and give – give advice, give help, give guidance – to others before they ask, that get a really great response when it’s their time to ask” (03:41)
A key part of a successful collaboration is to give first. It’s crucial to consider how we can contribute and enhance someone else’s idea instead of simply responding with “yes, but…”. Adopting a “yes, and…” approach allows us to actively contribute and build upon the ideas we encounter.
“Whenever I’m doing a business collaboration, in my email, I put clearly “I will do ABC and we’d love it if you could do XYZ” (05:27)
It’s important to adopt a win-win mindset. When initiating such partnerships, you should clearly outline the value proposition for both parties involved. This allows all parties to easily grasp the benefits they will receive and encourages a fair and equitable exchange. By seeking win-win scenarios, you cultivate relationships built on trust and reciprocity, increasing the likelihood of successful collaborations that benefit everyone involved.
“Finally, you gotta take action. You gotta be bold. You gotta send that DM or stand up or show up, and really make the effort in your network” (08:49)
To fully leverage the potential of your network and unlock real business opportunities, it is essential to invest effort and active participation. Having a network of contacts is not enough; it requires proactive engagement and nurturing relationships. This entails consistently staying connected, maintaining regular communication, attending industry events, and actively seeking ways to add value to others. Remember, the more you invest in your network, the greater the returns you can expect.
Chris Edwards (00:10
So I just got back from a whirlwind trip around Asia, and one question that came up from Launchpad members while I was over there was how do you create real business opportunities through your network?
Chris Edwards (00:27
And I thought, what a fantastic question to bring to the podcast. So I really wanna break this down because I have used, I suppose, mainly business collaborations as something that’s really helped me with my own personal business growth.
Chris Edwards (00:43
So What is a brand collaboration? It’s when two brands join forces to market themselves.
Chris Edwards (00:50
And so, some examples, some big-name examples are Spotify and Uber, or Doritos and Taco Bell, or BMW with a cross promotion with Louis Vuitton. In my own business, Launchpad, we do cross-promotions with Boutiques Singapore, the Conscious Festival, and even more recently, for our anniversary partners in Hong Kong, we had Green Queen come and share our platform with us, and in Singapore, we had Uncommon. So they’re all examples of brand or business collaborations.
Chris Edwards (01:23
Why would you want to do this? I suppose it’s really to expand your brand reach, to reduce your marketing costs, to improve your brand trust and loyalty, because you’re borrowing loyalty and trust from the other brand, and, really, to boost sales and revenue.
Chris Edwards (01:40
There is a dark side to partnerships and collaborations and using your network, and I just wanna give you a little heads up on what you need to look out for. So you could spend a lot of time on this and not see any real value. So you need to be careful that you don’t go down a rabbit hole and waste a lot of time. You don’t wanna collaborate with brands that are a wrong brand fit. It could actually damage your brand if the brand is not of an equal or even a better or a bigger brand than your brand. And you also need to analyse the activity you’ve done and review it to make sure it’s delivered results. And when I say results, you need to see that they’re actually engagement results. So you might see, for example, high traffic to your website, but you actually want to see purchases or high clicks or a high lift in the number of subscribers. You wanna see engagement from that traffic, not just traffic.
Chris Edwards (02:36
So how do you come up or get a relationship with another brand? How do you collaborate with a brand so it’s genuine and it doesn’t seem like you’re pushing yourself onto another brand? And how do you do it without feeling icky, right?
Chris Edwards (02:54
So there are four key things you need to keep in mind when you want to create real business opportunities through your network.
Chris Edwards (03:04
Firstly: are you listening? Often, we’re so caught up or so anxious about what we’re going to say next that we might not really deeply be listening to the person we’re speaking to. My trick is to write things down. So no matter what meeting, it could be a coffee, it could be a work meeting, whatever it is, if I’m writing down the key points that I’m hearing, it really helps me deeply listen to the other person. The next thing is to give first. So I feel like what you’ll notice, actually, even in our Launchpad community, is the members that show up and give – give advice, give help, give guidance – to others before they ask get a really great response when it’s their time to ask. So I think, often, we just need to think about how can we give and improve on, say, someone else’s idea?
Chris Edwards (04:04
Rather than say “yes, but…”, you want to say “yes, and…”, so really think about how you can add to the ideas that you’re hearing.
Chris Edwards (04:12
Thirdly, are you really clear on what you need? There’s a really great article in the Harvard Business Review called “Cracking the Code of Sustained Collaboration”. And in this article, they talk about this exercise on collaborations about dividing an orange. So you’re working in partners and each partner is told, without the other one’s knowledge, the reason for wanting the fruit. One needs to make juice and the other needs the peel for a muffin recipe. So they don’t know that one wants the juice and one wants the peel, and if they can listen and really, I suppose, listen and give, then they’ll work out that they can share the orange and both get what they need. But if they go in and rush into it without listening, they’ll just cut the orange in half, and neither of them will get exactly what they need. Really interesting analogy. And it’s really about when we communicate, we’re often really indirect or abstract, and we’re not specific with what we actually need.
Chris Edwards (05:18
So then the fourth thing is, can you think about a win-win? I love this expression, “win-win”, you know, you want it to win for both parties. What I do whenever I’m doing a business collaboration is I put it in an email really clearly, you know, “Launchpad will do ABC and we’d love it if you could do XYZ”, so you can really clearly see what’s in it for you and what’s in it for them and they can really see a very fair and equitable exchange.
Chris Edwards (05:49
So, in a practical sense, what kind of value can you get from your network? Like, how can you create these real business opportunities? So brand collaborations is probably the biggest. And that can be looking at audience growth, it could be cross-collaboration promotions, and what I mean by this is it could be a giveaway, it could be an email shoutout swap, it could be co-creating an ebook, it could be a gift with purchase, like, there are stacks of ways you can collaborate. Cross-promotional events, that’s something we’ve done a lot of at Launchpad, it works really well.
Chris Edwards (06:25
Another real business opportunity you can get through your network is just real personal development, like, learning through others. For me, I have learned so much from just meeting people and asking their advice. Some other things you can get is you can actually unlock some really hard to reach opportunities. For example, how to get stocked in a department store. So another business who’s done it will be happy to share it with you, but you really need a great large network of people to be able to find that information, find that expert, or find that experience. I really love the expression “surface area luck”, it was something that came up in an earlier podcast. And I think it was Steve from Propertyguru who said that’s what community means to him. It’s just an opportunity to increase the amount of luck that comes into your business. So expanding your network really just expands your opportunities. You can also use your network or your community for market research, getting customer insights, or even wider market knowledge, trends in the market, what other entrepreneurs are worried about, what they’re getting ready for, or what are the hot tips? What are the tools they’re using right? Some of the best AI tools I’ve learnt about through just talking to other entrepreneurs.
Chris Edwards (07:45
So, in summary, firstly, you need to show up and you need to give. So you need to give first. Whenever an opportunity presents to you to be able to spend time with other entrepreneurs, I strongly encourage you to show up and speak up so people know who you are. The next thing is be really clear on what you need in your business. Like, don’t have a thousand problems, just have one problem that you need help on, and that will really help people be able to deliver real value to you. Thirdly, think about who is your perfect partner to collaborate with. It’s usually someone who has maybe a slightly bigger audience or a slightly bigger brand that’s gonna bring brand value to your business. So really nail that perfect partner in your mind and ask, ask for intros, don’t be afraid to even just reach out directly. Fourthly, think about the win-win. Think about that email or that message that says, “I will do XYZ and you could do ABC, and that would be a great partnership for me”. And then, finally, you gotta take action. You gotta be bold. You gotta send that DM or stand up or show up and really make the effort for your network to know who you are, know what you’re looking for, and know how they can help you. So I hope that helps you really create amazing business opportunities through your network
Chris Edwards (09:14
That’s all for this week’s “How To” episode, thank you so much for listening, and I hope today’s episode was helpful.
Chris Edwards (09:21
If this is the first time you’re joining us, make sure to follow Good Business for more “How To” episodes – I’ve got a bunch of topics lined up and I’m super excited to share the things that I’ve learnt in my entrepreneurial journey that have really moved the needle.
Chris Edwards (09:37
If you’re a regular listener, thank you for your support. Make sure you rate us and leave a review on whatever podcast platform you’re listening to, and we’ve actually written a little cheat sheet on how to do this on the Launchpad website – this really, really helps with getting the podcast into more ears of listeners so we really, really appreciate it.
Chris Edwards (10:01
Of course, if you have any topics you’d like us to explore, please reach out. You can email us at [email protected] and we’d love to hear from you.
Chris Edwards (10:11
Lastly, if you want to join a community of ambitious, daring, and smart entrepreneurs and gain access to all the tools you’ll need to grow your business, make sure to check us out at www.thelaunchpad.group.
Chris Edwards (10:26
Thanks again for tuning in to Good Business. My name’s Chris Edwards, and I’ll catch you next week.