When I was a kid, my mother Helen—a school teacher and single mum—taught me more than just how to plait hair and swim.
She taught me the value of hard work (at 11, I had a job picking up golf balls on the local course) and of partnerships.
Of working out what you needed to get where you wanted to be in life, and how other people could help you get there.
That independence doesn’t mean doing things by yourself. It’s an emotional and financial freedom earned by collaborating with others to double or triple your chances of spotting opportunities and creating the life you want.
The queen of finding gaps which others couldn’t see, Helen had one big dream in 1980s Perth. She wanted to build an Italian villa in our suburban backyard.
“But you don’t have any money,” everyone said.
She subdivided the yard, wangled bridging finance and invited Perth’s leading architect over for Champagne.
I’m still not exactly sure how the conversation went, but the lure of being part of an unlikely project convinced the architect she wanted in.
They collaborated. Mum got her house and the architect waived her usual high fees because of the whimsy of the unusual commission.
We couldn’t afford carpet for 12 months but it was a small price for a big lesson: if you ask other people to come along on your dream ride, you double your shot at getting what you want.
For the last decade—after teaming up with another company for a competition and growing my community by 7000 in ten days—I’ve used partnerships as my signature secret weapon in building multiple successful businesses.
There is no strategy that works as well. None. You can have your positive team culture, your fantastic sales team, your cool new product.
Finding a strong partnership is the best and fastest way to grow your business, especially in a post-pandemic, vaccinated world where the ABS says business confidence will soar. Those who find new ways to build social media connections, gain consumer trust and get in front of ideal clients will flourish.
This is not a complicated idea. Two heads are better than one. Piggybacking off someone else’s community for free while they tap into your own contacts is a no brainer.
Partnerships give you increased visibility, boost profits, catch the media’s eye, save money.
My recent favourites are those that are unexpected. I love sneaker brands in the US, where disparate personalities or brands come together.
I like the surprise synchronicity of Mattel and Mercedes Benz. North Face and Gucci. Nike and Netflix’s Stranger Things. Kit Kat and RUOK? Ralph Lauren and the Australian Open.
They all offer creative ways to see a brand and redefine a relationship with consumers.
Like Helen redefined her relationship with her own home by seeing a gap, being bold and calling in an unexpected partner.
What’s your version of her Italian villa?