J is for Joint Ventures
Joint Ventures is a concept that has probably been around for a long time, but only seems to have become mainstream over the last few years. Joint ventures can work in several different ways, but essentially means that two or more businesses will have an arrangement whereby they'll promote each other's businesses and profit from this whenever anybody buys.
At first glance, this seems similar to referral partners, but actually it's a completely different concept. In referrals, although there might be a formal agreement to refer clients in exchange for money between two or more businesses, referrals tend to happen on an ad-hoc basis.
In joint ventures, both parties agree to promote each other on a very regular basis in exchange for money when someone buys. Let me give you a few examples.
1. I set up a workshop. You agree to promote this workshop to your list and your contacts and whenever someone books onto the workshop from your contacts, you get paid a percentage.
2. We both write an e-book and jointly promote this to our lists and our contacts. Whenever someone buys, we get a share of the money at a 50/50 split.
3. You create a membership programme. I tell my list about this and drive traffic to your site. If anyone buys, I get a percentage commission.
Joint ventures work incredibly for products and tangible services. The relationship is almost always automated - in other words, I would get paid a percentage automatically using a payment system rather than you having to send me money every month. And unlike referrals, where payment can take months to come through, with a joint venture relationship, payment is instant.
Joint ventures are also incredibly easy to track too - the payment system you use for your joint ventures will allow you to see when your contacts have bought a product or service and give you statistics on how much you've got paid. In referrals, it's not 100% clear because the parties concerned may not be completely honest with you.
So, if joint ventures sound like something that might be of interest to you, where do you start?
Well, the first thing to do is to create a list of possible joint venture partners - who appeals to the same sorts of customers as you do and has complimentary products or services?
Once you've identified possible joint venture partners, you need to think about what you'd like them to promote for you; what percentage commission you're willing to give them and what promotional material you're going to provide them with.
Your joint venture partners are unlikely to do anything for you out of the goodness of their heart - they're going to want to know what's in it for them and they're not going to want to have to do a lot of work. That means you're going to have to provide them with everything they need in order to get going.
You're also going to need a payment system that can handle joint ventures so that any payments are automated and send to your partners automatically.
It's only at this stage that you'll be ready to start talking to your potential partners. Don't forget to have a written agreement in place too.
Yes, I know that sounds like a lot of work to get it all set up, but the benefits can be enormous. If you want to start smaller, consider writing articles for the newsletters of potential joint venture partners to build your relationship or maybe doing something like a free teleseminar together to build both of your contacts.
Joint ventures are fun, great for business, but they are a lot of hard work. Make sure you're ready and prepared before you set them up, but once you are - go for it!