As entrepreneurs (and especially those in small businesses) the roads in business can sometimes be somewhat lonely and isolating. One solution is to consider working in partnership or collaboration with other businesses and colleagues to provide a service. Being a collaborator vs. competitor is a great way to approach a project.

Over the years, I have had the absolute pleasure to work with a number of talented, skilled professionals on various collaborations and strategic alliances. The benefits have far outweighed any challenges that have been faced. Some of the benefits include: learning from others and their diverse skill set, exposure to new client groups, increased business relations, increased potential to be successful in proposals and RFP competitions.

There are many ways that you can collaborate with others to provide a service, joint venture or advance your business:

- Seek out colleagues that have complimentary yet different skills than your own
- Be innovative and explore projects that you could pursue if you had a partner who possesses the skills or experience that you don’t have
- Look for ways that you could collaborate with others (e.g. a new service, expanding a service or a new product)

Six Essentials of A Strong Collaboration:
1. Clarify roles, expectations and parameters,
2. Ensure there is one of the collaborators who will assume the role of project lead (and have a backup),
3. Have a work-plan ( a document that outlines who does what),
4. Develop a milestone chart with specific deadlines, outcomes, and specific tasks with corresponding timelines
5. Have a contingency plan,
6. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!

Author's Bio: 

Professional Speaker, facilitator, and consultant, Charmaine helps businesses, organizations and groups bounce forward to build inspired and resilient teams. She helps organizations reach and exceed their potential through personal and professional development.

Charmaine has a Master’s Degree in Conflict Management and Analysis; a BA in Social Development Studies, is Registered Social Worker and President of Hammond International Inc.

Contact Charmaine at or