One of the hot words in today’s business vernacular is “ecosystem”. Ecosystem by definition is “the complex of a community of organisms and its environment functioning as an ecological unit” (Merriam Webster). When you think of your business as one organism operating in a much larger environment, new opportunities for growth appear.
In a healthy ecosystem, there is a give and take. Each individual contributes something to the ecosystem and in return is rewarded. In the business world, studies have shown that a business that opens itself up to partnerships benefits both in terms of revenue and in the overall health of the business.
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
Partnering eliminates inefficiencies in the business environment. Take this hypothetical case as an example:
An individual contacts a Workers Compensation attorney for a consultation. By the end of the consultation the attorney determines the client actually needs a personal injury lawyer and refers them to the PI attorney down the street who is able to take care of them. Now, that PI attorney consults a new potential client and finds that the client doesn’t have the proper medical documentation. So the PI attorney refers them to a doctor that shares the same building. Later in that week, the doctor treats a client who’s injury sustained at work will be worse than previously thought and they are referred to the original Worker’s Comp attorney.
This is a small scale example, but it highlights the benefits of partnering even if it is as simple as just a network of referrals. Both attorneys and the doctor were able to retain clients they may not have gotten otherwise. In addition, the clients received the best possible treatment for their specific situation because of that ecosystem.
Benefits of Partnering
There are multiple benefits to partnering. One of the main benefits appears on the bottom line. The IBM Institute for Business Value found that executives who actively encouraged new types of arrangements significantly outperformed their competition in measures of revenue growth and operating efficiency. Additionally, those that were optimistic about the benefits of the ecosystem were more likely to be outperformers than underperformers.
The other benefits to partnering are harder to put a value on because they do not show up on the balance sheet. By partnering, you now have access to people and information that you previously didn’t have. This flow of information can help build your professional network and give access to some additional operational strategies that you hadn’t previously thought of.
Ways Attorneys Can Partner
All businesses should actively be seeking partnerships. For attorneys specifically, you should think about the other professionals that you deal with on a daily basis. Doctors, Physical Therapists, Auto repair shops etc. are all business that would benefit from a local ecosystem.
Another way that an attorney can partner is in their marketing department. Lead generation is a great way to add a consistent stream of clients in addition to referrals. Lead generation is something that can help lower your cost per acquired case, which in turn would boost profits.
How to Partner:
There are three key things to make sure you understand when looking for a partner:
Put Yourself In Their Shoes.
It is important to understand what you are getting out of the relationship, but it is equally important to understand what the other party is looking for. If they are not getting what they are looking for, then they will be looking for a way out and that will ultimately be detrimental to your business.
Pick Your Partner Carefully
In addition to ensuring that your partner is getting something out of the relationship, it is also important to make sure you pick a partner that operates at a level of quality that you want to be associated with. Once you enter into a partnership, you and the partner will be reflections of each other. Reputations are important as a low quality partner would hurt the reputation of your firm. At the same time however, a high quality partner is a great way to boost a reputation.
Be Ready to Put in the Effort
Like all relationships, a business partnership takes effort to maintain. Large companies who operate with lots of partners have entire alliance management departments who dedicate all of their time to maintaining the health of the partnership. This may not be necessary depending on the scale of the partnership, but you should still treat the alliance as its own separate entity. If you are dedicated to the health of the alliance, operating with the interests of both organizations, then you can ensure you will receive the benefit over the course of the alliance.
If you would like to learn how eGenerationMarketing could become part of your ecosystem give us a call at 617.800.0089.